MICHAEL O'SHEAIt's a travesty, to be sure, to be sure. All those smokers detracting from government coffers by buying cheaper fags from elsewhere due to the high cost at their local shop. Something has to be done, right so.
OPINION: Better efforts to tackle tobacco crime would mean more money for schools and healthcare
God knows, we’ve been aware of the scale of this crisis for long enough. Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan has himself described it as an “epidemic”. And his department admits the exchequer is losing more than €300 million each year from illegal sales – more than a mere drop in the ocean of our deficit. The tobacco industry put that figure at €556 million which, ironically, would almost cover total cutbacks mooted for the health service.
And what is Michael's solution?
Further increasing tobacco tax would have the double effect of raising revenue and ensuring a healthier nation. We estimate that a €1 increase in tobacco tax would reduce smoking rates by at least four points from the Eurostat figure and yield an extra €200 million annually to the exchequer.Not sure he really gets this economics thing, does he?
At least other anti-smoking measures have been highly successful though, eh?
This is starkly demonstrated in the latest Eurostat figures which put smoking prevalence here at 31 per cent – four percentage points away from a place in the world’s top 10 tobacco-consuming nations.You forgot the tobacco advertising ban, Michael.
This is scarcely credible given Ireland’s role as a world leader in enforcing important aspects of tobacco control policy, such as our high tobacco tax environment and the workplace smoking ban.
Of course, there is a way of reclaiming all that lost income and halting the renewed interest in tobacco - a respect for smokers and appreciation of human nature might be a start - but you can just ignore it and keep slamming your head into that brick wall if you prefer.