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IN response to Martin Southgate’s letter on tobacco smuggling (September 27), here’s a far more effective idea: make Ireland a tobacco tourist destination.
We reduce the cost of cigarettes in line with or below the rates of Spain, Poland, etc. That would end smuggling and boost tourist revenue.
My partner and I are frequent tobacco tourists to Spain. Over a weekend, we’ll spend two nights in a hotel, dine out and purchase a three-month supply of cigarettes. The benefits to the local Spanish economy are obvious.
If we reduced cigarette prices here, not only would Irish smokers spend their money at home but we would see a huge increase in tourism, particularly from Britain. I know the anti-smoking lobby will be outraged, but the reality is that despite the smoking ban and high prices here, the incidence of smoking is still on the increase. Despite that lobby’s best advice, neither the ban nor price rises have stopped smokers.
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