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Dhilung Kirat

You'll now have to break a €20 to buy a pack of cigs

Cigarette packs will increase by 50c, while petrol and alcohol duties are to remain unchanged.

THE PRICE OF cigarettes is to rise by 50c from midnight tonight, bringing the cost of a 20-pack to €10.50.

Cigarettes duties have been increased in every budget for the past four years – by 40c in 2015, 10c in 2014 and 2013, and 25c in 2012.

The hike is the only tax increase in Budget 2016, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said today.

The Irish Cancer Society has welcomed the move, saying it “will encourage people to stop smoking and ultimately save lives”.

The charity said in a statement that “sharp, regular spikes in tobacco price will help the government reach its target of a ‘smoke-free generation’ by 2025″.

However, the measure has been sharply criticised by Retailers Against Smuggling, which said the hike will “severely damage” small businesses.

“Due to the excise increase, we have now reached a stage where the
price of legitimate products are double that of smuggled cigarettes,” the lobby group added.

Meanwhile, petrol excise duties, which have been untouched for the past four years, will remain unchanged.

There will also be no increase in alcohol rates, which were raised in the 2013 and 2014 budgets.

The Licensed Vintners Association, which represents Dublin publicans, said that, while a reduction in alcohol duties was their preferred outcome, the status quo was “preferable to a rise”.

The motor tax is to be reduced for all vehicles over 4,000 kilos, with a new rate of €500 for vehicles weighing up to 12,000 kilos and €900 for vehicles over 12,000 kilos.

Budget live blog: All the developments, as they happen

Read: All the breaking news from today’s Budget 

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