Tobacco firms' tax bill nears €500m ahead of plain packaging ban - report
Tobacco companies have seen their tax bill surge in the opening five months of the year as the industry has been accused of stocking up on branded cigarettes.
According to a report in the Irish Daily Mail, tobacco firms have shelled out almost €500m in tax in the opening months of the year, which represents an 81pc increase on the same period last year.
The increased tax spend comes ahead of the imminent plain packaging ban. However, companies will be allowed to sell off whatever remaining stock they have left - branded or otherwise up until May 2017.
The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show a major spike in the volume of cigarettes that are being imported into the country too.
During the opening quarter of the year 600 extra tonnes of tobacco were brought in.
Legislation that will see plain packaging introduced is being used as a method to deter smokers and children from being enticed by branding.
Anti-smoking groups have accused the industry of stockpiling branded cigarettes to get children hooked on them ahead of the looming ban.
Revenue has been contacted for comment by Independent.ie.