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Call for 5% tax increase on tobacco

8th March 2010

The charity Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) has said that increasing the tax on tobacco by 5% would cause a significant decrease in the number of people who smoke in the UK.

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According to a report by the charity, millions of pounds would also be saved in health care costs and it would discourage children from purchasing tobacco.

Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation and the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) have also given their support to the idea.

Ash's report said that increasing the tobacco tax would cut the amount of smokers by 190,000 and would decrease NHS spending on treatment for diseases caused by smoking by over £20 million annually.

The report also said that increasing tax would save more than £10 million annually by cutting down on 'smoking-related absenteeism' at work.

Ash's chief execuitve, Deborah Arnott, said: "By increasing tobacco taxation, we help to discourage children from buying cigarettes. An above-inflation rise would also help adults stop smoking."

FSID director Joyce Epstein said: "Scientific evidence shows that every year the lives of over 100 UK infants could be saved if no pregnant woman smoked."

"Smoking by fathers increases the risk of infant death as well. Our organisation supports increasing the price of tobacco because it will encourage smokers to consider quitting and so protect their children."

 

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