The Government’s 2012 Budget review targets smokers
23rd March 2012
The Chancellor yesterday released his annual budget speech and has hit smokers hard in the pocket. As he described smoking as the biggest source of preventable illness and early death within the UK, it was clear he has hiked up the cost of smoking in an attempt to deter people from lighting up and to save the National Health Service possibly millions of pounds in the long term. "Duty on all tobacco products will rise by 5 percent above inflation. That's 37 pence on a packet of cigarettes," Mr. Osborne said. This sharp rise in the cost of cigarettes came into effect at 6pm last night. This means that the typical cost of 20-pack of cigarettes will now stand at a whopping £7.50. The tobacco industry has hit out at the price surge, arguing that this could now result in an increase in smuggling, especially within the current poor economic climate. Before the changes came into play last night, smokers up and down the country were scrambling to bulk-buy large quantities of cigarettes that they could last on before having to feel the effects of Mr. Osborne’s budget review. The year’s huge 37p duty hike on cigarettes actually doubles the combined tax clobbering from the 2010 and 2011 budgets, clearly demonstrating Mr. Osborne's plan to get people to stub out for good. In the last nine years inflation-only duty rises had added between 6 and 12p to the cost of a packet of cigs. The news has clearly been met with jubilation from health campaigners. Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health (Ash), commented on the price increase: "This is excellent news. Raising the price of tobacco through taxation is the most effective way of encouraging smokers who want to quit to make that first step”. She further added, "We are delighted that the chancellor has listened to the voices of the health community and taken decisive action to tackle the greatest single cause of ill health and premature death. This tax rise will also put cigarettes out of the price range of many young people making it less likely that they will take up this lethal habit." What this could now mean is Electronic cigarette companies may see their sales skyrocket as people are deterred from smoking. Families were already struggling before yesterday’s budget was released, with everything such as petrol, electricity, gas, and food prices all seeming to be raised annually. Others may finally look to quit for good through the use of such medication as Champix, for the good of their health and the health of their children. It has been mentioned this week that the exposure of tobacco smoke to children is putting them at risk of developing asthma, wheezing, and Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).