For the average 20-a-day smoker in Ireland the habit costs €121.10 per fortnight (€60.55 a week), assuming you buy your cigarettes from a normal retail outlet.
However, smokers also take holidays and Forest readers might be interested to learn what their habit will cost them during the annual two week break in Europe.
Sunny Spain is a favoured destination for the vacationing Irish masses and smokers can save €65.00 by buying their two weeks' supply locally there. By legally bringing home another 200 smokes you would save a further €46.50. Think of it as a discount of €111 off your holiday. That kind of makes Spain a cheap destination, doesn't it? The same applies to Portugal where 20 cigarettes are the same price as Spain (€4).
But wait, there's more. Slovenia is one of those beautiful new countries that has thrown its borders open to would be sightseeing strangers and firsthand reports I have received suggest that it is an excellent destination all around. And you will save €78.26 during your stay by buying your supply there. The 200 you bring home will save you a further €55.90 bringing you total savings for the trip to €134.16. Now, that's a lot of money in Slovenia.
If you find yourself crossing the French/Spanish border, then do stop in Andorra and pick up 400 cigarettes for your holiday. It will only cost you €54 and will save you €119 on the Irish price as a pack of 20 there costs €2.70.
Wealthier smokers may fancy Scandinavia but be careful. Cigarettes in Norway cost over twice what they do in Sweden (unbelievable but true). You see, only Norway (a non-EU country) has more expensive cigarettes than Ireland. We have the dubious distinction of being the most expensive place in the EU. In Norway 20 cigarettes costs €9.63 while just across their long land border with Sweden you can pick them up for as little as €4.62. Even better, you could take a trip across the Baltic to Vilnius, the beautiful capital of Lithuania and pay only €2.06 for 20 cigarettes.
Romania is in the EU and I am told that their beers and wines are excellent and very cheap. Better still, the Irish visitor will save €109 euro during their fortnight there and a further €155 on their 400 to bring home. That's a saving of a whopping €264 which is a hell of a lot of Romanian wine & beer!
It is an untenable situation here when smugglers can take all the risks, suffer seizures and arrests and still offer you cigarettes at half of the official price. And even with that you can buy them cheaper again and be fully legal in most of our preferred destinations in the EU.
The original vision for the European Union was price harmonisation by bringing tariffs into line. We all know that our precious corporate tax rate is under pressure now because our European neighbours consider it uncompetitive, but what about pricing? It's the other side of the same card after all.
Anyway, as a service to our readers, we offer the full list of pricing for 20 cigarettes across Europe.
As of September 2011:
€3.43 Czech Republic
€2.97 North Cyprus