The Irish Cancer Society and Irish Heart Foundation have made a joint-call to the Minister for Finance to increase the price of cigarettes by 50c in this year’s budget.
The two health charities say that this would reduce the number of young people smoking in Ireland even further than its current all-time low of 8.3% of 10-17 year olds.
“Higher price will mean fewer smokers, particularly in the under-18 age group,” said Donal Buggy, Head of Services and Advocacy at the Irish Cancer Society. “We have already seen that the number of children smoking falls with increasing price. We want the Government to move the affordability of smoking further out of reach from young people.
"The Government has committed that Ireland will be tobacco-free by 2025 so every tool we have to discourage children from smoking has to be used to make this vision a reality.”
Research conducted by the Irish Heart Foundation and Irish Cancer Society in 2011 found that when choosing which cigarette brand to purchase, price is usually the deciding factor for teens and most will automatically choose the cheapest, irrespective of whether it is their first choice.