There was bad news in today’s budget for the estimated 5% of Irish smokers who actually buy their cigarettes in a shop. For the seventh year in a row 50 cent was added to the price of a packet of twenty bringing the cost of most brands up to a staggering €13.
With the latest price increase, how can anyone earning an average wage in Ireland still afford to smoke? We ventured into the bars of Dublin to gauge the reaction of smokers to the news. First we spoke to 36-year-old Colin McGuire from Finglas and asked him how he felt about the price hike.
“Couldn’t give a shite.” he told us. “My mate Keith only charges €5 for 20 John Player Blue and they haven’t gone up in years. He has a bedroom full of them. You can’t go wrong at them prices.”
63-year-old Mick Delaney had a similar reaction when we told him how much twenty cigarettes will now cost him in a shop.
“Cost me? Haha! They can make them €50 a packet for all I care. I can’t remember the last time I bought me smokes in a shop. My son gets mine for me off some fella with a funny name that he works with. Plus the health warnings on the packets are always in Russian or something so that’s an added bonus coz I can’t understand a word of it.”
So what about Irish retailers? Are they feeling the pinch? Jim McLoughlin has been running his family newsagents Mags‘n’Fags in Cabra for over 30 years. Does he think the price increase will affect his business?
“No, I don’t think the price increase will affect my business. I haven’t sold a packet of fags in ten bleedin’ years.