By Colin Grainger
They said "NO!" to the Irish Cancer Society.
They said "NO!" to ASH Ireland.
They said "NO!" to the Irish Heart Foundation.
They said, "No tobacco increase in this budget".
They saw sense and were persuaded by various groups that to increase tax on tobacco was to invite container load after container load of smuggled cigarettes.
Well done! It is about time a government, any government, saw the light. We have been saying this for years. The higher the price of tobacco products, the bigger the smuggling problem gets.
Keep an eye on the Irish press in the next few days. All three of the above groups will be squealing like stuck pigs. They were wrong to bleat for more and more tobacco tax increases and today the Irish Government put them firmly back in their boxes. Long may it continue.
The British government loses up to £4.2 billion every year because of their infantile approach to tobacco taxation. They directly encourage smuggling and the criminals that take advantage of the high cost of tobacco. Maybe it's to ensure that our bobbies have plenty of work, who knows?
Since the British government foolishly copied the Irish smoker ban, will Chancellor Darling now copy the Dail again, and refuse to increase tobacco taxes in our upcoming budget?
Please! That would entail the use of common sense. This government ran out of that particular commodity about 11.3 nanoseconds after the 1997 general election.
Still, credit where it's due. The Dail did good work today.
Next step, amend your ban, and revitalise your pub industry. Your bars suck without customers. I know, I visited several empty, dismal bars in Dublin. The "craic" is gone, along with the smokers.
Get 'em back inside, where they belong.
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