STAFF REPORTER AFTER Central Government approved a hike in taxation on the sale of tobacco earlier this month, cigarette manufacturers have slapped on their own price rise, much to the fury of smokers. “With the cost of cigarettes as they are now, I'll have to give up smoking,” said one irritated consumer yesterday. “They're trying to solve the economic crisis at the expense of smokers.” The Central Government tax increase which is expected to rake in 1'220 million euros from around the country for the Inland Revenue if the current trend for smoking continues, wavers between 7 and 10 percent.

Guillermo Mas, President of the Balearic branch of Traders Association, Aceba, said yesterday that if the price rise had only consisted of the government's tax increase, it would have been a lesser amount. As an example, one of the most popular brands Marlboro, would have gone up from 3.1 euros to 3.29, an increase of 6.13 percent but as the price hike introduced by the manufacturers of 5.16 percent has been incorporated, a pack of Marlboro now costs 3.45 euros. With the combination of the two sets of price increases, the cost of a packet has in fact increased by 11.29 percent (in the case of Marlboro) and by 17.28 percent in the case of the Chester brand.