Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is joined by over 10 public health organisations including Cancer Research UK, British Lung Foundation and British Heart Foundation is calling on the Chancellor to do more to reduce the affordability of tobacco products; one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking. Smoking is the leading cause of premature death, killing 100,000 people in the UK each year and leaving thousands more living with a serious smoking-related illness.
Specifically, charities want to see the Chancellor reintroduce the tax escalator and take steps to close the gap in tax between hand-rolled tobacco and factory-made cigarettes. Most importantly they want to see Treasury backing for a new smoke-free 2030 fund to deliver on the Government’s commitment for a smoke-free country by 2030. The charities are calling for a specific levy on tobacco companies to raise a £300 million annual fund to pay for the measures needed to help more smokers quit and prevent children from taking up smoking.
Hazel Cheeseman, Director of Policy, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said:
“With his first Budget falling on No Smoking Day the Chancellor has an opportunity to take a real stride forward in protecting the public’s health. Making tobacco less helps smokers to quit while children are less able to afford cigarettes. However, as we raise the price of tobacco it is only right that we also invest in the measures that will help more people to quit or never to start smoking.”
If the Government is to meet its ambition of a smoke-free England by 2030, funding is needed to help smokers quit and prevent young people from taking up smoking. ASH, together with over 70 organisations is calling for a smoke-free 2030 fund to make the tobacco industry pay for the damage it does.
This week The King’s Fund published a report highlighting the positive contribution taxes have made to addressing public health problems such as smoking and advocating for further action.
Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. ASH receives funding for its programme of work from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation.
No Smoking Day falls on March 11th 2020.