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It's not rocket science: increasing tobacco taxation encourages illicit trade

Forest Eireann's John Mallon was on Ireland AM (TV3) this morning.

He was invited to talk about tobacco taxation with Kathleen O'Meara of the Irish Cancer Society.

John has written about the experience on the Forest Eireann blog – see Breakfast briefing. You can also watch it here.

At the same time I was on BBC Radio Merseyside discussing illicit cigarettes.

As in many parts of the country, nearly a quarter of all packs of cigarettes sold in the North West are illegal or counterfeit.

Tobacco smuggling, I pointed out, is the direct result of excessive taxation, but will the Government do anything about it? Will they heck.

Meanwhile, over in Dublin, tobacco control advocates like Kathleen O'Meara want the Irish Government to put another 60 cents (50p) on a pack of 20 cigarettes.

And they wonder why illicit tobacco is just as big a problem in Ireland as it is in the UK!

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Reader Comments (2)

Economic and social madness. We've had enough.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 0:11 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Simon: Increasing tobacco tax has more negative effects than illicit trade.

High cigarette taxes are making low-income people reduce their buying of other products than cigarettes - for example food. And so these taxes might damage not only poor people's health, but also the broader retail sector.

This question has been raised in Denmark by economist Christian Bjørnskov, University of Aarhus, in a critical article about the smoking ban and the ever raising cigarette taxes in the financial media, titled: "Does anti-smoking policies really work?". He cites scientific evidence from studies in US and Switzerland. The article is not online, but there is another article citing much of it here - in Danish, unfortunately. Maybe Google can help:

Only the state coffers and the pharmaceutical companies benefit from higher cigarette taxes. The latter because they raise the price of Nicorette and other nicotine products each time cigarette prices are raised. It should be noted, that the global pharma companies are lobbying heavily for higher cigarette taxes.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 0:52 | Unregistered CommenterKlaus K

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