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

European Union
8.65 Ireland
7.88 UK
5.90 France
5.26 Holland
5.16 Germany
5.23 Denmark
5.05 Belgium
5.00 Finland
4.62 Sweden
4.60 Italy
4.40 Austria
4.20 Luxembourg
4.00 Spain
4.00 Portugal
4.00 Cyprus
3.43 Czech Republic
3.06 Slovenia
4.00 Greece
3.00 Estonia
2.97 North Cyprus
2.95 Poland
2.70 Andorra
2.51 Hungary
2.50 Bulgaria
2.49 Latvia
2.06 Lithuania
0.89 Romania

Non EU
9.63 Norway
4.81 Switzerland
3.06 Croatia
2.97 Turkey
1.49 Albania
1.36 Russia
1.17 Serbia
1.02 Ukraine
0.92 Belarus

Source ITMAC

Europe rejects curbs on e-cigarette sales

Newsdaily: eu set to regulate e-cigarettes

European lawmakers have rejected proposals that aimed to clamp down on how the latest gadget to help smokers give up tobacco should be sold.

Electronic cigarettes, along with other nicotine containing treatments, would have been one step closer to being classed as a medical product across the 28 country European Union if updated proposals for tobacco regulation were voted through by the European Parliament on Tuesday.

However, the proposal was rejected by 362 votes to 298. Lawmakers did vote in favor of product safety controls and regulations for marketing and advertising.

The new classification would have meant the product’s availability to shoppers could have been be limited from 2014. Those below a certain nicotine content would have still been allowed on the consumer market but with health warnings.

Speaking after the vote, the European Conservatives and Reformists Group said that this was a victory for common sense.

(Read More E cigarettes could significantly cut tobacco use Study)

“Many electronic cigarettes are produced by small businesses who would simply not have been able to afford the strict authorization demands the EU would placed on them. We could not stand by and allow MEPs to put companies out of business and people out of work,” said Conservative MEP Martin Callanan on the group’s website.

“It makes sense to find ways of making tobacco less attractive to younger people. Although some of the measures seemed on the zealous end of the scale, we are willing to accept them, but we could not have supported a measure that would cost jobs and push people off of electronic cigarettes and back onto the real thing.”

E cigarettes use heat to vaporize a solution containing nicotine into an aerosol mist and are designed to replicate smoking behavior without the use of tobacco. Tobacco is the most significant cause of premature death in the EU, responsible for almost 700,000 deaths every year, according to its own statistics.

(Read More An e cigarette boom could be around the corner)

While many were against the draft proposals, some lawmakers stated that their availability increases the number of people who could be attracted to smoking and hit out at glamorous advertising campaigns promoting the new technology.