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Wednesday
Sep192018

John Mallon around and about

Once a year, sometimes more, Forest's man in Ireland hits the road and travels the length and breadth of the country.

The goal is for John Mallon to visit as many radio stations as possible over a two or three-week period.

On Monday John drove from his home in Cork to Tralee in the south west of Ireland where he was interviewed on Radio Kerry.

On Tuesday he travelled to Ennis, Co Clare, where he appeared on Clare FM.

Today he was in Galway where he featured on Galway Bay FM and tomorrow he's in Sligo (I think) for an interview with Ocean FM which broadcasts to south County Donegal, north County Leitrim and most of County Sligo.

Next week, if everything goes to plan (it rarely does), the tour moves to Waterford, Kilkenny, Kildare, Clonmel and Tipperary before returning to Cork.

Finally, in week three, John will head to Dublin before the announcement of the Budget on October 9.

Naturally therefore the theme of the tour is the punitive taxation of tobacco that hits low earners hardest and pushes some smokers further into poverty.

If that sounds familiar it's because the UK and Ireland are in a continual race to have the highest rates of duty on tobacco products in the EU.

Both countries wear it like a badge of pride, leap-frogging over one another with every budget announcement.

Referring to his own country, John says:

"Smokers have been the whipping boys in successive Budgets for far too long. The current levels of tax on tobacco are immoral because they target low earners and others who can least afford the annual tax increases on tobacco.

"Increasing the tax on RYO tobacco to bring it in line with cigarettes (FMC) is especially unfair because it’s a deliberate attempt to force people to give up one of the very few pleasures they may have."

Calling on the Finance Minister to freeze excise duty on tobacco in next month’s Budget, he adds:

"Enough is enough. It’s time for Paschal Donohoe to strike a blow for common sense and decency. Tobacco is a legal product. Smokers expect to pay a premium for what is a potentially unhealthy habit, but there is no logic in pursuing an unfair policy that discriminates against the poor, hurts legitimate retailers and costs the nation revenue that goes to criminal gangs or governments abroad."

Btw, it was reported this week that:

Twenty two per cent of the Irish population are current smokers, with 18 per cent smoking daily and four per cent smoking occasionally, Minister of State at the Department of Health Catherine Byrne said at the publication of the 2017 Annual Report on the Tobacco Free Ireland Action Plan.

That is not an insignificant minority and John does a fantastic job representing the interests of the many smokers in Ireland who don't want to quit.

See 'Over one fifth of Irish people still smoking' (Health Manager).

John meanwhile has been off combustibles for a year now and has switched permanently to vaping. Perhaps we should launch a new organisation to represent vapers in Ireland.

After all, no-one else seems interested and we're effectively doing the job already.

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Reader Comments (2)

Forest needs to set up a UK wide vaping organisation to speak for both vapers and smokers and unite both causes and persuade vapers that getting into bed with public health to promote smokerphobia can only backfire.

Thursday, September 20, 2018 at 13:43 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

Forest needs to set up a UK wide vaping organisation to speak for both vapers and smokers and unite both causes and persuade vapers that getting into bed with public health to promote smokerphobia can only backfire.

Thursday, September 20, 2018 at 13:44 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

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