Fighting the scourge of smoking addiciton

Recently, proposals were in the news about increasing the price of 20 cigarettes from just under €9 to €15 over the next six years.

There is a limit to how much the price of tobacco can rise before diminishing returns set in. The famous Laffer curve shows that when tax rates increase beyond a certain point, the tax collected decreases. Prohibition policies have a history of failure. Tobacco smuggling cost the State an estimated €420m in lost excise duty and revenue in 2010.

Increasing the price of cigarettes too much, too soon, would drive the consumer price index wild. The rate of inflation would go out of control. In the 12 years from 1983 to 1995, the price of tobacco doubled.

That figure doubled again in the following 12 years to 2007.

All minorities deserve respect, especially sizeable minorities.

Despite a sustained campaign for many years about 30% of the population have always smoked. It is a cruel addiction.

Ireland needs a modern-day Father Mathew to free our people from the scourges of binge drinking, narcotics abuse and tobacco addiction.

We cry out for someone with the strength and leadership to start a self-help organisation of Smokers Anonymous.

The Government could usefully encourage such a worthwhile cause if they seriously want to stamp out smoking.

Michael Mernagh

Carrigaline

Co Cork

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