Budget hikes of 50c in cost of cigarettes 'becoming the new 20c'
Budget hikes of 50c in the cost of cigarettes are "becoming the new 20c" the chairman of the Revenue Commissioners has said.
Niall Cody is appearing before TDs at the Public Accounts Committee where he made the observation.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan raised the cost cigarettes by 50c in the Budget on Tuesday. A pack of 20 now costs €11.
Mr Cody said that around 2007 and 2008 the excise increases were 20c or 30c but that was when the cost of a pack of cigarettes was €8.
He said: "50c is starting to become the new 20c", adding that there are obviously "health reasons" for the increases.
Addressing the issue of cigarette smuggling he said that loss to the exchequer from the sale of illegal cigarettes has been put at €194m.
Such cigarettes account for 12pc of the market.
"It's a constant battle between ourselves and the UK to see who has the highest prices. Now with the way Sterling has been going we're probably first again," he added referring to the market fluctuations caused by fears over Brexit.
He said that with a crackdown on fuel laundering here, criminals are moving into cigarette and alcohol smuggling.