78% of the cost of a pack of cigarettes goes directly to the government in the form of excise duty and VAT. Sinn Féin Cllr Anthony Kelly has called for this money to be used to subsidise proven methods that can help smokers with a will to quit to kick the habit.
"A war is currently being fought with the tobacco industry," Cllr Kelly said, "Health experts estimate that manufacturers of tobacco related products must recruit fifty new customers every single day to replace smokers who have died or quit. The answer from these experts is prevention. The majority of smokers begin the habit in their teens so it is hoped that higher prices and bland packaging can stop young people from beginning."
"The tragedy here is that seasoned smokers are expected left with two choices; continue to smoke at high cost or pay a significant amount of money to access proven treatments. There is another option that is available to our government."
"Money brought in through taxation on tobacco products could be used to subsidise proven treatment methods for smokers who wish to kick the habit. These products such as patches should be made available free of charge to those people with a true desire and will to quit."
"7000 people die in Ireland every year from smoking related illnesses. While Sinn Féin supports the introduction of preventative measures such as standardised packaging, this will not save people who have been smoking for years. It's time to use the revenue generated from smoking taxes to help smokers quit once and for all."