03 Jul 2022

Retailers issue warning over excise increases on tobacco

Smokers driven towards black market, says group

Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS)

Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS) have made a pre-Budget submission to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe

Continuous excise increases on tobacco are driving Irish smokers towards a growing black market, fuelling significant growth in smuggling activity.

That is according to Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS), who have today outlined why Budget 2022 should not increase excise on tobacco products considering the unfair "competition" legitimate retailers face from criminal gangs exploiting the demand for illegal tobacco products.

Commenting on the organisation’s Budget submission to Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD, national spokesperson for RAS, Benny Gilsenan said: “An excise increase on tobacco products in Budget 2022 will only serve to further damage an already weakened retail sector and will provide increased opportunity for large-scale smuggling and smuggling of tobacco products.

“The policy informing Budget 2022 must account for the need to create a sustainable, flourishing, and legitimate retail sector as we emerge from the pandemic.

"As retailers, we continue to compete with a very active black market in tobacco products, which accounts for 15% of all cigarette packs in Ireland, not to mention the 9% of cigarette packs smoked which are bought in from other jurisdictions.”

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