Humphreys welcomes McGrath’s conversion to cigarette taxes
Labour Party Senator Kevin Humphreys has welcomed Minister Finian McGrath’s U-turn in support of cigarette taxes.
Senator Humphreys commented: “Finian McGrath used to be staunchly opposed to cigarette taxes. Just last year in the Dáil, McGrath described cigarette taxes as punitive and populist. He was also a vocal critic of the successful smoking ban in public places.
“However, in a significant U-turn, McGrath has been speaking on national radio about the need to increase cigarette taxes.
“As someone who wants to help people give up smoking I welcome McGrath’s change of mind. But before cigarette taxes are increased there needs to be investment in preventative programmes to discourage people from starting to smoke and more investment in supports to help people give up smoking.
“Otherwise increasing cigarette taxes will just be a regressive form of taxation for people on low incomes and it will not deliver its intended target of stopping people from smoking.
“I welcome Finian McGrath’s change of mind on this important issue but I hope he takes up my suggestion of investing in preventative and support programs before the tax is increased to make sure it is fair and works effectively.”