A PACK of 20 cigarettes could cost as much as €20 by 2025.
The Irish Heart Foundation is calling for the phased introduction of the price increase over the next five years.
It comes after the excise duty on a pack of cigarettes was increased 50% in the 2021 Budget by Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe.
Under the change, the price of cigarettes in the most popular price category will rise to €14, while there will a pro-rata increase on other tobacco products.
The price hike is part of the Government’s concerted effort to reduce the level of smoking in Irish society.
But while the Irish Heart Foundation has welcomed the increase it has also warned that more must be done to dissuade young people from using put tobacco and e-cigarettes products.
As well as a phased increase in cigarette prices, the charity also wants the Government to introduce a new excise tax of 6c per millilitre of e-cigarette liquid in order to further prevent young people from becoming addicted to nicotine.
Irish Heart Foundation's head of advocacy Chris Macey said: “The 50c increase on a packet of cigarettes, and pro-rata on other tobacco products, is welcome but much more needs to be done. We are disappointed that there is no taxation on e-cigarette liquid.
“Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death in Ireland with almost 6,000 smokers dying each year from tobacco related diseases. A healthier future is contingent on discouraging smoking and taking bold action.
“The Programme for Government was explicit in the role of a targeted taxation regime to specifically discourage vaping and e-cigarettes, and there is clear evidence that tax increases on e-cigarettes are effective in reducing youth use.
“The Health Research Board found a three to five times fold increased likelihood between e-cigarette use and initiating smoking cigarettes in adolescents.
“The smoking rate among 15-16-year-olds has been cut from 41% to 12% over a 20-year period.
“We cannot give up these hard-won health gains by allowing a new generation of children to become addicted to nicotine through an e-cigarette industry that is largely controlled by big tobacco.
“During the Covid pandemic, when our respiratory and cardiovascular health is paramount, it is disappointing that the Government failed to do more in the drive to achieve a Tobacco-Free Ireland.”