Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS) has expressed frustration over an excise increase on tobacco which is set to drive further black-market activity as consumers grapple with the soaring cost-of-living. The group was reacting to Budget 2023 announced by the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe TD which included an increase of 50c on the average price of a packet of 20 cigarettes.
Commenting, National Spokesperson for Retailers Against Smuggling, Benny Gilsenan said: “It is extremely disappointing that Minister Donohoe has once again ignored the concerns of legitimate registered retailers on the direct impact black market activity is having on their businesses. Today’s Budget 2023 announcement will inevitably push many consumers to the black market for the first time and makes illicit tobacco an even more lucrative commodity for organised crime gangs.
“We fully expect that the percentage of smuggled tobacco on the Irish market will continue to rise because of the increase, eliminating any potential gains to the Exchequer. As consumers turn towards the black market, ultimately it is the retailer who suffers through the loss of not only the legal purchase of cigarettes but also any potential additional purchases that person might make when they are in the store.”