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Tobacco duty increases a "kick in the teeth" for poorer smokers

Wed 11th March, 2020

Campaigners have criticised the increases in tobacco duty announced in the Budget.

From 6.00pm tonight (March 11) duty rates on all tobacco products will increase by inflation plus two percent annually until the end of this Parliament.

The rate on hand-rolling tobacco will increase by inflation plus six per cent this year.

This will lead to an increase of 27p per pack of 20 cigarettes, with hand-rolling tobacco increasing by 67p per 30g pouch.

Simon Clark, director of the smokers' group Forest, said:

"This is another kick in the teeth for poorer smokers in particular. If the Conservatives want to keep their ‘red wall’ seats they need to show a lot more empathy for ordinary working people, including the millions of adults who enjoy smoking.

"Further increases in tobacco duty discriminate against those who are less well off. In addition to forcing some smokers further into poverty, it will encourage illicit trade which puts smokers at even greater risk from counterfeit tobacco."

He added:

“The Chancellor had an opportunity to stand up for consumers who are willing to pay their fair share of tax but object to being punished for a habit that already earns the Treasury over £10 billion a year. Sadly he flunked it.

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