ANTI-smoking campaigners have called on Finance Minister Michael Noonan to put an extra 60c on the price of a pack of 20 cigarettes in the next Budget.
ASH Ireland also said it wants to bring the taxation on “roll-your-own-tobacco” into line with other tobacco products when Mr Noonan delivers his Budget package for 2013.
ASH Chairman Dr Ross Morgan said: “Significant price increase is established and accepted as the most potent weapon against smoking.
“It encourages smokers to quit and discourages young people from commencing the habit. Regrettably we have over 900,000 smokers in this country who consume roughly six billion cigarettes annually.
“This of course leads to addiction, significant tobacco related illness and the death of 5,700 of our citizens every year. One in two people who smoke will die because of this and it is incumbent on the government to take a leadership role and increase price and in doing so reduce prevalence.”
The organisation also wants the removal of VAT from all nicotine replacement patches, pointing out that in the UK they are subject to a reduced rate of the levy.
There should also be a 50 cents “environmental levy” on all tobacco products which would be paid by the tobacco industry as a “way of recouping the massive cost associated with dealing with tobacco litter”.
“Tobacco litter is our main urban waste.”