A leading anti-smoking campaigner is calling for the price of a packet of cigarettes to be increased to €20 to try and force people to stub-out the habit.
Irish smoking cessation therapist Steve Wrenn – a former city councillor who successfully campaigned for a ban in Dublin’s public playgrounds – said a “significant” rise in the price of tobacco products is needed.
He told The Mirror that the government should hike up taxes on a packet of 20 cigarettes – making their price rise by 90.5% from a current average of €10.50 to €20.
However, he warned that this measure would only work if it was backed up with significant State investment in helping smokers quit with new walk-in clinics located in every county.
He said this is needed to ensure that the government meets its own policy target of reducing the prevalence rate of smokers in Ireland from the current 19% of the population to less than just 5% by 2025.
Mr Wrenn has also called for the State to hire a “tobacco tzar” to lead the way in ensuring smoking is further “de-normalised” after the hugely successful workplace smoking ban and recent ban on smoking around children in cars.
He said: “An increase in the price of a 20-pack of cigarettes to €20 would be a very welcome measure, but only if any revenue raised from that was put into health and smoking cessation resources.
“Price cigarettes higher, but ensure you put the supports back in. Investment is badly needed in this area.