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Ash Scotland wants tobacco duty increased

10th November 2010

Figures from an anti-smoking organisation suggest that smoking costs Scotland’s economy nearly £1.1bn a year.

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The campaign group Ash Scotland said the figure took into account the economic impact of illness caused by smoking as well as lost productivity through workers taking smoking breaks.

The figure was contrasted with the £940m the Scottish government received from tobacco tax – a deficit of £129m - with the charity urging that tobacco duty should rise to help cover smoking prevention services.

A breakdown of the figures from the charity suggested that £692m was a result of lost productivity, absent works and early deaths; £60m from deaths as a result of second hand smoke; and £271m being the costs the NHS spends on treating smoking-related diseases.

A further £34m, says Ash Scotland, is spent cleaning up tobacco-related litter while £12m is the cost of putting out smoking-related fires.

Chief executive Sheila Duffy said: “Not only does smoking devastate our health, with over 13,300 adult deaths every year and thousands of others affected by smoking-related illness, it also has a negative impact on our economy.

“Taking into account NHS costs, productivity losses, premature death, costs of smoking-related fires in commercial properties, and clearing smoking-related litter, even on the conservative figures used, there is real cost of tobacco use to Scotland's economy of £1.1bn. That is a huge cost for us to bear.”

She said that revenues gained from smoking did not cover the costs of tobacco to Scotland and she urged the government to be tougher on the tobacco industry with increases in duty.

 

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