October 10, 2017

Irish Cancer Society welcomes 50 cent increase to cigarettes and VAT increase on sunbeds

The Irish Cancer Society has welcomed the Government’s announcement that the price of cigarettes will increase by a further 50 cent tonight. The 50 cent increase is the third at this rate in 24 months and the Society says that sharp, regular spikes in the price of tobacco will help the Government reach its target of a Tobacco Free Ireland by 2025.

Donal Buggy, Head of Services and Advocacy at the Irish Cancer Society said: “The Irish Cancer Society is pleased that price continues to rise. The price hike will encourage people to stop smoking and ultimately save lives.”

“Increasing the price of cigarettes is the most effective way of stopping children from taking up smoking and in encouraging people to quit. This can be seen in significantly reduced rates of smoking in Ireland among children and adults in recent years. Child smoking is at an all-time low of 8%, while overall smoking prevalence is at 23%.”

Mr. Buggy warned that price increases alone would not achieve the target of a Tobacco Free Ireland by 2025. “Price increases, while hugely important in increasing quit rates, need to be accompanied by readily available supports for smokers to quit”.

The Irish Cancer Society has also warmly welcomed the decision in Budget 2018 to increase the VAT rate on sunbed sessions.

Donal Buggy, Head of Services and Advocacy at the Irish Cancer Society said: “There is a direct link between sunbed use and skin cancer, so we are delighted to see the Government address an anomaly which saw sunbed sessions charged at a reduced VAT rate of 13.5%, and increase it to the standard VAT rate of 23%”.

“Recent research commissioned by the Society showed 150,000 people in Ireland used a sunbed in the last year. The modest price increase from the VAT rise will hopefully disincentive sunbed use, particularly among young people, who are at greater risk from the harms of sunbeds”.

“In the long term we would like to see an exploration of a complete, or partial ban on sunbeds, as part of the development of the Skin Cancer Prevention Plan by the Department of Health, under the National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026.”