Reilly pushes for 50c rise on cigarettes and hike on 'rollies'
Children's Minister Dr James Reilly is pushing for a 50c increase in the price of a pack of cigarettes in the Budget, the Irish Independent can reveal.
Dr Reilly has also asked Finance Minister Michael Noonan to introduce separate measures aimed at bridging the gap between the price of cigarettes and rolled-up tobacco.
Some 70pc of 16-year-olds who take up smoking begin by using rolled-up tobacco, known more commonly as "rollies".
The product is considerably cheaper than the average pack of cigarettes, the price of which was increased to €10 in last year's Budget.
Dr Reilly is understood to have asked Mr Noonan to introduce specific measures aimed at eliminating the price "anomaly" between the two products.
Mr Noonan has already indicated his willingness to increase the taxes levied on the so-called "old reliables" in the Budget.
In recent days, Dr Reilly requested an increase of at least 50c in the price of a pack of 20 cigarettes, Coalition sources have revealed.
This would bring in an additional €63m in revenue.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said a 10pc increase in the price of cigarettes reduces demand among adults by 4pc.
However, Dr Reilly is understood to have argued that the 50c increase is necessary because smoking rates among Irish adolescents is significantly ahead of other countries.
While the number of 12-17- year-olds who take up smoking has decreased, Dr Reilly said young people were more susceptible to price increases and that therefore such a move was desirable in this budget.
The Fingal TD has been praised by cancer charities and health groups for his tough line taken against smoking and tobacco companies.