News & Comment

Increase price of tobacco by five per cent above inflation say campaigners

Sat 3rd March, 2012

A submission signed by 91 organisations has demanded a substantial rise in cigarette duty in this month's Budget.

Prof John Britton, director of the UKCTCS, said hitting smokers in the pocket was the best way to get them to stop.

"Price is the most effective way to encourage smokers who are thinking of quitting to make that step," he said.

"UK cigarettes are more affordable now than they were when the health risks of smoking first became known.

"It is crucially important to use the price levers to nudge smokers to change."

campaigners are also calling for more duty on hand-rolled tobacco to stop smokers switching to save money, further action to curb smuggling and even moves to force tobacco retailers across the UK to be registered.

However, Simon Clark, from Forest, the smokers' lobby group, said that a 5% increase above inflation would produce an "economic madhouse", and cause an explosion in smuggled and counterfeit cigarettes.

He said: "Ideally we'd like to see a reduction in duty, but the next best thing would be a freeze on tobacco duty, so that's what we're hoping for."

Source: BBC News (3 March 2012)

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