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Senator and cancer specialist calls for €3 increase on cigarettes

NewsBy Shuki Byrne
Crown: "Five of every six smokers began as an underage child"
Crown: "Five of every six smokers began as an underage child"

Professor John Crown, a Senator and cancer specialist, has called on the government to consider a new tax of at least €3 on packets of cigarettes.

The oncologist was speaking to Newstalk when he suggested the government should up the price of cigarettes considerably. 

His argument comes from the perspective of a medical practitioner working in one of Dublin's major hospitals where he witnesses the detrimental effects the addiction has on smokers and their families. 

"When you increase the price of smoking, you do reduce the amount of smoking," Mr Crown said. 

"Anything we can do that makes fewer people smoke and put themselves at terrible risk for terrible diseases is to be encouraged." 

Colette Fitzpatrick quizzed Professor Crown on the smokers who will be hit financiallyif the tax were to be introduced.

"This is an addiction," he said. "It is caused by the tobacco industry deliberately addicting people to their products.

"Five of every six smokers began as an underage child. If children don't take up smoking, there will be a decreasing pool of people to buy the products made by the tobacco company.

"What punishes smokers is having their legs amputated in their 40s or 50s. What punishes smokers families is losing their mother or their father or their brother or their sister or their spouse.

"It's not the couple of extra euros on the price of the smoking that punishes them, those are the punishments. Those are death sentences."

Listen to the interview in full here