News & Comment

Campaigners urge Chancellor to "be fair to smokers"

Tue 23rd February, 2016

Forest has launched a six-day ad blitz urging George Osborne to rethink the government's tobacco taxation policy.

The ‘Be Fair To Smokers’ advertisement is part of Forest's Axe The Escalator campaign that calls on the Chancellor to stop increasing tobacco duty above inflation.

Starting today, a series of online ads will run for six days over two weeks, enjoying total exposure on websites and blogs including ConservativeHome, Guido Fawkes' blog, Labour Uncut, Labourlist, Liberal Democrat Voice, Newsbiscuit, Political Betting, Standpoint Magazine and UK Polling Report.

The ads link to a microsite that enables consumers and shopkeepers to write direct to their member of parliament.

The Axe The Escalator campaign was launched by Forest in response to what it claims are "unfair" and "punitive" levels of tobacco taxation.

Director Simon Clark said:

"During the last parliament tobacco taxation increased by more than 40 per cent. The combined tax on the cheapest cigarettes on sale in the UK is a staggering 88 per cent.

"Excessive taxation is unfair on Britain’s eight million adult smokers. It discriminates against law-abiding consumers, especially those who are elderly or from lower socio-economic backgrounds."

"It's also unfair on legitimate retailers who are competing for business with criminal gangs and other less scrupulous shopkeepers.

"Even the government loses out. In 2014/15 an estimated £2.6 billion in revenue was lost as a result of illicit trade and cross-border shopping.

"It makes no sense to increase tobacco taxation any further. We urge the Chancellor to do the right thing and axe the tobacco escalator."

To visit our Axe The Escalator website and write to your MP click here.

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