Ireland has the third highest rate of illegal tobacco trade in the EU, with 28.3% of tobacco consumed here now classed as Non Irish Duty Paid (NIDP).
This is according to new figures compiled by MS Intelligence. Only Latvia and Lithuania have higher rates of consumption of non duty paid tobacco, but both countries have managed to reduce this in the past year and also have a lower retail cost, at €2.49 and €2.06 respectively.
The cost of cigarettes in Ireland is second highest in the EU, at €9.40 per pack of 20, just behind the UK at €9.94. However, the UK has a NPD of just 15.5%, which has declined from 21.5% since 2012.
A spokesperson for the Irish Tobacco Manufacturers Advisory Committee (ITMAC) said, “There is no doubt the high cost of legitimate tobacco is pushing more people to the illicit trade, but unless the government seriously address the problem by taking an integrated approach through the proposed informal working group on illicit trade, then the problem will only get worse.”
Ireland also has some of the highest tax rates for tobacco products, with approximately 78% of the price of every packet of cigarettes going to Government in excise and VAT. Norway, which is non-EU, charges €11.84 per pack and also has the highest level of non duty paid tobacco in Europe of 49.2%.
The ITMAC spokesperson said that as an island we should be dealing with the problem of non-paid tobacco a lot better then we are. “There is no doubt the high cost of legitimate tobacco is pushing more people to the illicit trade but unless the government seriously addresses the problem by taking an integrated approach through the proposed informal working group on illicit trade, then the problem will only get worse."