Value and volume sales of duty-paid cigarettes rose significantly for the second consecutive year in 2021, albeit at a slower growth rate due to the gradual reopening of Ireland and the migration of smokers to alternative tobacco products. Despite the easing of restrictions from April onwards due to the successful rollout of Ireland’s vaccination programme, the local authorities still advised citizens to work from home whenever possible and few fully returned to the office, as hybrid working arrangements became the new “normal”.
On 13 October 2020, the price of cigarettes increased for a sixth consecutive year following the announcement of the 2021 Budget. The excise duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes purchased through traditional retailers was increased by EUR0.
2021 was a busy year for illicit trade of cigarettes in Ireland, due to the reopening of borders and resumption of travel. In light of the increase in cigarette prices in 2021 and the prevailing financial uncertainty brought about by the pandemic, many consumers turned to the black market for cheaper cigarettes in an attempt to save money.
The Irish government is planning to introduce a licensing system for the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products, as part of its efforts to reach its tobacco endgame targets and achieve a tobacco-free Ireland. Tobacco in Ireland has become the most regulated market in the EU with a series of stringent tobacco control policies implemented in the last two decades which have significantly curbed the sale of cigarettes and reduced smoking prevalence.
Overall smoking frequency increased in Ireland in 2021 due to lingering anxiety levels, and this has been considered by some stakeholders as a major blow to the tobacco endgame ambitions of the local government. Despite this scenario, the impact of COVID-19 on smoking in Ireland is not expected to last as the country continues to recover from the pandemic and increasing numbers of consumers choose to follow healthier lifestyles.
The increasing popularity of alternative tobacco products such as fine cut tobacco is likely to negatively impact demand for cigarettes over the forecast period. Following the ban of menthol cigarettes in May 2020, tobacco companies launched menthol-flavoured filters and papers, which attracted many cigarette smokers.
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RETAIL SALES OF DUTY PAID CIGARETTES The definition of cigarettes for the purposes of this study is duty-paid, machine manufactured white-stick products. This does not exclude brands of cigarettes that do not use white paper but it is designed to exclude the volume of non-machine manufactured products such as bidis/beedis (India) and papirosy (Russia), and other smoking products made with tobacco but that either do not resemble cigarettes as recognised in the US or Europe, or those that are not machine manufactured. The exclusion of these products is intended to give a more accurate picture of the "true" market for cigarettes and cigars which has been distorted in official statistics and published reports because of the inclusion of hybrid products. NB Please note that due to its central importance and integration into the industry mainstream, Indonesia’s market data does include hand-rolled kreteks DUTY-FREE sales are excluded from retail sales, as are herbal cigarettes. ILLICIT TRADE CIGARETTES Not included in retail sales, but split out separately in volume terms only. Defined as non-duty paid cigarettes (includes smuggled & counterfeit/fake products combined). Legitimate cross-border sales are considered duty-paid. Sales arising from a foreign national purchasing cheaper cigarettes in bulk in a neighbouring country for personal use and exported back are attributed to the country where the purchase is made (e.g. bulk cigarette sales by British nationals in France are attributed to France).See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Cigarettes research and analysis database.
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