MORE than a hundred times more money is spent on smoking-related illness than on helping people quit the habit.
And the VAT rate on nicotine replacement products to help people kick the habit is nearly five times higher here than in the UK.
The striking figures were issued by the Irish Heart Foundation and ASH Ireland to mark National No Smoking Day today.
The heart disease charity said 36,000 smokers have to be admitted to hospital annually and 14 die of illnesses linked to the habit daily.
"At present illness caused by tobacco costs the State up to €2bn a year – that's €2,000 for every smoker in the country.
"But estimates suggest that an average of less than €15 annually is spent helping each of Ireland's one million smokers to quit."