ASH Ireland Response to Budget 2019: 50c increase welcomed
Ash Ireland welcomes the announcement by Minister Donohue in the 2019 Budget statement today to increase the price of a pack of cigarettes by 50c. Price is widely recognised internationally, and by the World Health Organisation, as the most important way of encouraging smokers to quit and discouraging young people from experimenting with tobacco. The possible links being raised between ‘smuggling and price increase’ are totally misguided and mainly fuelled by a major vested interest, the Tobacco Industry. Smuggling must be tackled as a separate and very serious criminal issue but it should not impinge on health policy and related decisions. ASH Ireland called for a 1 euro increase in price in its pre-budget submission.
Dr Patrick Doorley, Chairman of ASH Ireland said today, “Significant inroads have been made in regard to smoking prevalence over the past 15 years with current levels down to less than 20%, down from 29% in 2003. However, if the Government is to achieve its stated objective of establishing a smoke-free Ireland by 2025 then it must commit to significant annual increases in the price of tobacco, including Roll Your Own tobacco. We call on the government to ring-fence funding for the purpose of supporting smokers to quit, particularly smokers in lower socio-economic groups who have higher levels of smoking.”
Dr Doorley went on to say, “Smuggling of tobacco into this country is a major issue for Government. However, we must be wary of Tobacco Industry efforts to use smuggling as a reason for not introducing effective measures which can improve the nation’s health. There are many examples of jurisdictions where tobacco price has been increased for health reasons, and smuggling simultaneously tackled and reduced – such as Australia, New Zealand, UK and Spain.”
“Ireland is seen as a world leader in tobacco control. I ask the Government to intensify the public-health battle against tobacco, especially in relation to expanding smoke-free spaces. The toll to our citizens from smoking is a heavy one in terms of disease, disability and death. Smoking causes unique and catastrophic consequences for families all over Ireland as, every year, close to 6000 of our citizens die from smoking. We must do all that is possible to reduce this dreadful statistic by de-normalising smoking, and above all introducing pro-health legislation”, Dr Doorley said.
Further information contact:
Tel: 0818 305055