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Anti-smoking policies help create and sustain poverty, says Forest

Wed 28th October, 2015

Forest has accused anti-smoking campaigners of "breathtaking hypocrisy" following claims that quitting smoking will lift huge numbers of people out of poverty.

According to figures released today by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), an estimated 418,000 households and 1.1 million people could be lifted out of poverty if they quit smoking.

Simon Clark, director of Forest, said, "Anti-smoking campaigners love it when tobacco taxation goes up but they ignore the impact it has on those who can least afford it.

"Punitive taxation on tobacco, which ASH supports, increases poverty in some households so it's breathtaking hypocrisy to use the poverty card as part of their campaign to force people to quit.

"Their lack of empathy for adults who enjoy a cigarette is staggering. Tobacco is a legal product and smokers have a right to expect a level of taxation that is fair and reasonable and doesn't increase inequality.

"The argument that giving up smoking will lift people out of poverty is also unrealistic because the odds are they will spend the money on other things, which is their choice."

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