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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 22 October, 2014

Call for 50c ‘environmental levy’ on packs of 20 cigarettes

ASH Ireland said the levy should be imposed on the tobacco industry, on the ‘polluter pays’ principle.

Image: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

A 50C ENVIRONMENTAL levy should be placed on packs of 20 cigarettes and imposed on tobacco companies, ASH Ireland has said.

It made the suggestion in its pre-budget submission, which it has given to the Minister for Finance.

Proposals

ASH Ireland’s submission has five different proposals, the first of which is that a 50 cent environmental levy should be placed on each pack of 20 cigarettes sold.

It said this levy should be imposed on the Tobacco Industry, on the “polluter pays” principle.

Ash has also called in its submission for the removal or reduction of VAT on nicotine replacement patches.

A further suggestion is an increase of 60 cent in the price of a pack of 20 cigarettes, which ASH notes has also been proposed by the Irish Heart Foundation and Irish Cancer Society.

Finally, ASH is seeking an increase of €5 million in funding the fight against the tobacco smuggling.

Dr Ross Morgan of ASH Ireland said that they believe it is particularly important that there is a significant increase on the price of tobacco.

It is well established that tobacco constitutes the main component of urban waste and we are asking the Minister to place a 50 cent levy on each pack of 20 cigarettes sold to recoup the cost of dealing with this waste, which is also a significant environmental hazard. We are insisting that the highly profitable Tobacco Industry pick up the cost of this levy.

Dr Morgan said that there is a significant price differential between the cost of nicotine replacement therapy in Ireland when compared to other EU countries. Nicotine replacement patches are VAT rated at 5 per cent in the UK, whereas in Ireland it is 23 per cent.

Due to this, ASH is asking the Minister to remove or reduce the VAT on nicotine replacement patches as one way of addressing this.

Regarding tobacco smuggling, Morgan said that it is “vitally important that the tobacco industry, who have a vested interest in the smuggling issue, are not directly involved as advisors or supporters to the government on the smuggling issue”.

A number of groups have sent in their pre-Budget 2014 submissions to the government recently. Focus Ireland has called on it to avoid forcing more households into homelessness.

Threshold has also said that up to 30,000 new houses need to be constructed annually to meet the housing demands in Ireland.

Read: Government called on to address housing shortage in Budget 2014>

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