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'We have to protect children' - Call for new tax on e-cigarettes in Budget 2021

The Irish Heart Foundation is calling for higher taxes on cigarettes and vaping products in the u...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.05 7 Oct 2020


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'We have to protect children'...

'We have to protect children' - Call for new tax on e-cigarettes in Budget 2021

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.05 7 Oct 2020


Share this article


The Irish Heart Foundation is calling for higher taxes on cigarettes and vaping products in the upcoming budget.

It wants the Government to introduce an excise tax of 6c per millilitre of e-cigarette liquid, which would add in the region of 10% to 25% to the price of e-cigarettes.

The group has also called for the cost of 20 cigarettes to increase to €20 by 2025, through a series of five annual tax increases.

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Chris Macey is head of advocacy at the Irish Heart Foundation.

He told Newstalk Breakfast: "We aren't calling for a tax on e-cigarettes likely, and what we're proposing is way below what's been introduced already in many other EU countries.

"We understand the harm reduction role that e-cigarettes can have for long-term smokers - however the evidence that e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking for young people is now very substantial.

"A comprehensive analysis of research in North America and Europe has shown that teens are four-times more likely to smoke if they've used e-cigarettes than if they haven't.

"The smoking rate among 15 and 16-year-olds in Ireland has been cut from 41% to 12% over a 20 year period.

"And we just can't give up these hard-won games".

John Mallon, spokesman for the smokers' lobby group Forest Ireland, denied that e-cigarettes are a gateway drug.

"I have looked at this and it's been something I have been watching for the last five years.

"I actually am one of the 200,000 people in Ireland who had smoked all his life and has quit using an e-cigarette."

Asked by Ciara Kelly that while that may work for him it may not work for those who never smoked, he replied: "People who never smoked won't be interested in this - anymore than people who don't smoke would be interested in going into a shop and buying 20 cigarettes".

On this, Mr Macey said: "What we're talking about here is protecting children.

"We do think we can set a tax at a rate that will discourage children and young people from taking up e-cigarettes - but won't push vapers back to smoking".

Main image: A woman smoking an e-cigarette in Germany in March 2017. Picture by: Frank May/DPA/PA Images

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Budget 2021 Chris Macey Cigarettes E-cigarettes Forest Ireland Irish Heart Foundation John Mallon New Tax On E-cigarettes Newstalk Breakfast Vaping Products

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