Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 7 Feb 1979

Vol. 311 No. 4

Financial Resolution No. 3: Excise—Tobacco Products.

I move:

(1) That in this Resolution "the Order of 1977" means the Imposition of Duties (No. 233) (Rates of Excise Duty on Tobacco Products) Order, 1977 (S.I. No. 384 of 1977); "caven-dish or negrohead", "cigars", "hard pressed tobacco", "other pipe tobacco" and "tobacco products" have the same meaning as they have in the Finance (Excise Duty on Tobacco Products) Act, 1977 (No. 32 of 1977).

(2) That the duty of excise on tobacco products imposed by section 2 of the Finance (Excise Duty on Tobacco Products) Act, 1977, shall be charged, levied and paid, as on and from the 8th day of February, 1979, at the several rates specified in the Schedule to this Resolution in lieu of the several rates specified in the Order of 1977.

(3) It is hereby declared that it is expedient in the public interest that this Resolution shall have statutory effect under the provisions of the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, 1927 (No. 7 of 1927).



Description of Product

Rate of Duty


£9.10 per thousand together with the amount equal to 20.2 per cent. of the price at which the cigarettes are sold by retail.


£8.064 the lb.

Cavendish or negrohead

£8.149 the lb.

Hard pressed tobacco

£5.212 the lb.

Other pipe tobacco

£6.551 the lb.

Other smoking or chewing tobacco

£6.805 the lb.

I would like to know what the new duties will be. What will be the actual intake now from 20 cigarettes or an ounce of tobacco, loose and pressed? Has the Minister got these answers there?

I can give the Deputy some information but not all that he has asked me for. The duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes of a popular priced brand before this resolution is 23.07p for excise duty, the payment to the trade would be 17.84p and the VAT would be 4.09p making a total of 45p. After this resolution it will be 28.5p for excise duty; 17.86p would go to the trade and 4.64p for VAT making a total of 51p.

What about the tobacco?

On one ounce of tobacco the pre-budget duty would be 27.54p the trade would get 21.1p and VAT would be 4.86p, making a total of 53.5p. The post budget duty would be 32.58p, the trade will get 21.1p and VAT would be 5.36p making a total of 59p.

What is the duty on hard-pressed tobacco?

Those are the figures I have just given. It will be 59p an ounce. On flake tobacco the pre-budget price was 64p and the post budget price will be 71p.

On examination of these figures as given to us by the Minister we now find that a person buying 20 cigarettes of a popular brand is handing over directly to the State, through the shopkeeper, 28.5p. An ounce of plug tobacco is 32.58p. Mention was made prior to the budget that these old reliables were likely to be taxed. I was very doubtful that that would happen. The smoking public here are already making their contribution to the Exchequer and despite what the Minister for Health and Social Welfare and others say about the adverse effects of smoking some people like to have a smoke and many of those people are elderly citizens. The old men—or in some isolated cases the old women— buying an ounce of tobacco or a plug of tobacco will now pay about 6p extra for that product.

It is not usual for speeches to be made at this stage.

I know it is not but I want to say that so far as the tax assessment on tobacco products is concerned it is grossly unfair to ask the smoking public to make such a contribution as this budget asks them to make—28.5p for 20 cigarettes and tobacco prices varying from 64p to 71p per ounce is a lot to ask.

(Cavan-Monaghan): I do not smoke but I would like to say briefly that presumably the argument in favour of this will be that smoking is injurious to health and that is one way of reducing the number of people who will smoke. It looks to me to be extremely harsh to impose about 6p on hard-pressed tobacco and plug tobacco, which I have not heard being described as being injurious to health. Pipe smoking is usually enjoyed by elderly people on low incomes, and if this increase in duty is aimed at discouraging people from smoking cigarettes and thus improving their health, some distinction should have been made between cigarettes and hard-pressed tobacco.

I rise as a pipe smoker, like the Taoiseach and other Deputies, but I support the case made by Deputy Fitzpatrick. The Minister for Health has frequently stated that cigarette smoking is seriously injurious to health, but I have not heard any pronouncement from him or any other authority that pipe smoking is injurious to health. If the Minister for Finance has been taking into account the need to discourage cigarette smoking and to transfer the attention of cigarette smokers to the pipe, the increase in the price of pipe tobacco will not achieve that purpose. We know that many elderly people in our institutions and outside them enjoy the comfort of pipe tobacco and this increase will impose a severe hardship on them.

Therefore, I appeal to the Minister now, and I will do so again on the Finance Bill, to reconsider his decision in regard to pipe tobacco. I have no objection to the increase in the duty on cigarettes but I have to the increase on pipe tobacco not because I am a pipe smoker but for other reasons: the necessity to attract people away from cigarettes, through which they inhale nicotine, and to the pipe.

Would the Minister say whether there has been an application from cigarette manufacturers for an increase in price?

There may well be some proposals but I am not aware of a specific application for a price increase.

Is it possible there will be a further increase at a later date?

Such increases are always possible.

(Cavan-Monaghan): I understood the Minister for Finance today to say that the Minister for Industry, Commerce and Energy would be considering certain increases. Can the Minister present tell us what they are?

Am I to take it that on top of the increase we are now considering there is the possibility of a further increase—that the manufacturers may add a further increase?

Can the Minister say whether there is an application for an increase in the price of spirits and beer?

We will be coming to that, on another Financial Resolution.

I was trying to save time.

I am touched by this concern for smokers. The increases proposed now amount to something in the region of 10 per cent in the price of tobacco. The duty was not increased last year and I suggest it is fair to say that a 10 per cent increase in a two-year period is by no means unreasonable, taking into account general inflation in recent times. Whatever about the merits or demerits of particular forms of smoking, I would be surprised if Deputies wished to argue that smoking as a form of consumption should be encouraged by comparison with other forms of spending. For that reason I do not see the force of the argument for preferential treatment for tobacco users.

The Minister for Finance today told us that the product of these increases will be so many million pounds and he is assuming that smoking will remain at the same level and that he will have extra revenue from smokers to balance his budget. Is it not fair to say that the tax was not put on to deter people from smoking but to get money for the Government?

Any effect on reducing consumption has already been allowed for in calculations for additional revenue. The fact that it is expected to take in more by way of revenue does not mean one assumes unchanged consumption. There would be some modest reduction in consumption as a result of these price increases.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 74; Nil, 52.

  • Ahern, Bertie.
  • Ahern, Kit.
  • Allen, Lorcan.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Andrews, Niall.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Barrett, Sylvester.
  • Brady, Gerard.
  • Brady, Vincent.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Brosnan, Seán.
  • Browne, Seán.
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Callanan, John.
  • Calleary, Seán.
  • Cogan, Barry.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Conaghan, Hugh.
  • Connolly, Gerard.
  • Cowen, Bernard.
  • Cronin, Jerry.
  • Daly, Brendan.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • Lemass, Eileen.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Leonard, Tom.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Loughnane, William.
  • Lynch, Jack.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacSharry, Ray.
  • Meaney, Tom.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Moore, Seán.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Murphy, Ciarán P.
  • de Valera, Sile.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Farrell, Joe.
  • Filgate, Eddie.
  • Fitzgerald, Gene.
  • Fitzpatrick, Tom (Dublin
  • South-Central).
  • Fitzsimons, James N.
  • Flynn, Pádraig.
  • Fox, Christopher J.
  • French, Seán.
  • Gallagher, Dennis.
  • Gallagher, James.
  • Gibbons, Jim.
  • Haughey, Charles J.
  • Herbert, Michael.
  • Hussey, Thomas.
  • Keegan, Seán.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Killeen, Tim.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lawlor, Liam.
  • Nolan, Tom
  • Noonan, Michael.
  • O'Connor, Timothy C.
  • O'Donoghue, Martin.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Malley, Desmond.
  • Reynolds, Albert.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Tunney, Jim.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Walsh, Seán.
  • Wilson, John P.
  • Woods, Michael J.
  • Wyse, Pearse.


  • Barry, Peter.
  • Barry, Richard.
  • Begley, Michael.
  • Belton, Luke.
  • Bermingham, Joseph.
  • Boland, John.
  • Bruton, John.
  • Burke, Joan.
  • Clinton, Mark.
  • Cluskey, Frank.
  • Collins, Edward.
  • Conlan, John F.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Cosgrave, Michael J.
  • Crotty, Kieran.
  • D'Arcy, Michael J.
  • Deasy, Martin A.
  • Donegan, Patrick S.
  • Donnellan, John F.
  • Enright, Thomas W.
  • FitzGerald, Garret.
  • Fitzpatrick, Tom (Cavan-Monaghan).
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hegarty, Paddy.
  • Horgan, John.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Keating, Michael.
  • Kelly, John.
  • Kenny, Enda.
  • Lipper, Mick.
  • McMahon, Larry.
  • Mannion, John M.
  • Mitchell, Jim.
  • Murphy, Michael P.
  • O'Brien, Fergus.
  • O'Brien, William.
  • O'Connell, John.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Keeffe, Jim.
  • O'Toole, Paddy.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Quinn, Ruairi.
  • Ryan, John J.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Spring, Dan.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Tully, James.
  • White, James.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Briscoe and P. Lalor: Nil, Deputies McMahon and Horgan.
Question declared carried.