Cigarette machine operators oppose price hike proposal
The INCREASE in the price of the license to sell tobacco products will lead to widespread unemployment in the vending machine industry, activists said.
The Irish Cigarette Machine Operators Association (ICMOA) has called on its members to fight the proposed fee hike, saying it will lead to job losses in family businesses nationwide.
Health officials want to increase tobacco retail license fees from € 50 to € 500 per year per outlet.
President John O’Brien said the vending industry employs 145 people and brings more than € 175 million to the economy.
“Our members are selling a legal product within the strict regulations set by the Department of Health – if this continues, it will devastate our industry,” he said.
Environmental health officers from the Health Services Executive (HSE) monitor tobacco industry compliance and enforce controlling legislation, including workplace bans and restrictions surrounding sale, advertising and marketing tobacco products.
Mr O’Brien said its members were sole proprietorships or family businesses, supplying and servicing vending machines at more than 6,000 outlets.
“We will fight this attack on our industry,” said Mr. O’Brien.
“This government is only interested in short-term gains, and it clearly hasn’t given much thought to the long-term livelihoods of our members.
“Our members are already competing with criminals who sell illegal tobacco in pubs and clubs across the country. These people don’t pay taxes and now the government wants to give them a bonus.”