Budget 2017: Hike in price of cigarettes but booze and petrol untouched

Noonan makes the move to reduce tobacco consumption....

A pack of 20 cigarettes will cost smokers an extra 50 cent from midnight, as Budget 2017 brings an increase to the excise duty on tobacco.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the hike came "in line with the recognition that pricing is a key means to reducing tobacco consumption."

Excise on the likes of alcohol and petrol was untouched, however, with Noonan telling a packed Dáil:

"You'll be pleased to hear that this is the only tax increase in today's Budget."

Not everyone thought that was good enough, however.

Ross MacMathuna from the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland says they're disappointed excise on alcohol wasn't cut:

"We felt that there was an opportunity for the Minister to cut excise this year. Particularly with regard to Brexit and the sterling devaluation we've seen.

"We've seen now already people beginning to go across the border buying alcohol. With people buying alcohol, that's a loss to the Exchequer, but they're also buying groceries and other food and drink products. We felt that in terms of promoting the sector... this was an opportunity for the minister to promote the sector."

Looking ahead, the minister did confirm that a sugar tax will be introduced, along with the UK, in April 2018. A consultation process on what shape that should take is set to run until next January.