Ahead of this Friday’s General Election, JTI Ireland has told Checkout that recent tax increases in the tobacco sector are now "long since passed the point of diminishing returns", and that the Government is "no longer making money from these tax increases".
Cheryl Cullen, JTI Ireland Head of Government Relations, told Checkout that with as much as 30% of a retailer’s turnover coming from tobacco sales, "retailers find themselves losing revenues as cash strapped consumers look for cheaper alternatives.
“Therefore, the only people to gain from these hikes are the smugglers and illegal traders who provide lower priced alternatives in the black market.”
In dealing with the illicit trade, Cullen praised the government's efforts to introduce "greater powers for revenue officers and an increase in fines”.
However, she added that there is still "more to do", calling for a "commitment in the next Programme for Government to combat the illegal tobacco trade by increasing detection resources, clamping down on illegal sellers at street markets, and running public information campaigns about illegal tobacco and its security and financial implications.
"What is also really important over the next years is that heavier penalties are enforced on smugglers and illegal traders.
“The current average fine of just over €2,500 is simply not acting as a deterrent. It is a serious crime and needs to be treated as such.”
© 2016 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones