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Smuggling 'shouldn't discourage hike in cigarette prices'

Health groups say the Government should be discouraged from increasing tobacco taxes due to the growth in illegal cigarette smuggling in recent years.

Contraband cigarettes account for around one-quarter of all the tobacco smoked in Ireland, according to official estimates.

Some commentators have warned that higher taxes will not achieve their aim of discouraging smoking and will instead just force smokers into the black market.

However, the Irish Heart Foundation, the Irish Cancer Society and ASH Ireland say this should not stop the Government from increasing the price of cigarettes by €2 in the forthcoming emergency budget.

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