James Reilly seeks 50c hike in price of cigarettes
A 50 cent increase on the price of a packet of cigarettes is top of Children's Minister James Reilly's wish list for next week's Budget.
The Herald can reveal that Reilly is also asking Finance Minister Michael Noonan to ramp up the price of rolling tobacco in a bid to discourage young people from taking up smoking.
The product is considerably cheaper than a pack of cigarettes, the price of which was increased to €10 in last year's budget.
Dr Reilly, the Fine Gael deputy leader, is understood to have asked Mr Noonan to introduce specific measures aimed at eliminating the price "anomaly" between the two products.
In recent days, Dr Reilly requested an increase of at least 50c on the price of a pack of 20 cigarettes, Coalition sources have revealed. The increase would bring in an additional €63m in revenue.
While the number of 12 to 17-year-olds who take up smoking has decreased, Dr Reilly said young people were more susceptible to price increases and that therefore such a move is desirable.
The Fingal TD has been praised by cancer charities and health groups for the tough line he has taken against smoking and tobacco companies in recent months.