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Worcestershire Tobacco Control Alliance supports new report calling on Government to make tobacco companies foot the bill for reducing smoking rates

Published Friday, 12th June 2015

Worcestershire Tobacco Control Alliance joins more than 120 local and national organisations to back calls on the Government to impose an annual levy on tobacco companies.

The money raised would pay for evidence-based tobacco control and stop smoking services which could save tens of thousands of lives over the next decade and play a key role in helping to reduce costs to the NHS from preventable ill health [1].

The new report, Smoking Still Kills [2], was published by ASH today and calls for a new comprehensive strategy on tobacco paid for by placing a levy on the tobacco industry. 

Every year smoking costs the NHS at least £2 billion and a further £10.8 billion in wider costs to society including social care costs of over £1 billion [3].

New ASH research also reveals that in England over 1.7 million households who live below the poverty line include an adult that smokes. If they quit over half a million households in England would be lifted out of poverty [4].

Supporting the report, Smoking Still Kills published by ASH today Cllr Marcus Hart, Chair of the Worcestershire Tobacco Control Alliance and Cabinet Member for the Health &Well-Being Board said:  "There is very strong evidence that smoking kills and that it is the cause of long term illness and disability. It is therefore reasonable that tobacco companies should pay a levy towards the costs of tobacco control. Giving up smoking is not only good for health, it also beings financial benefits to smokers. This is particularly important for smokers in this county who here, as elsewhere, are concentrated in our areas of higher deprivation."

In the March budget earlier this year the Chancellor committed the Government to consult further on imposing a levy on tobacco companies [5]. 

Smoking Still Kills calls for:

1.     A new vision for the country with ambitious target of achieving 5% smoking rate by 2035: No one should be left behind as we achieve a tobacco free future and health inequalities must not be allowed to widen

2.    A new comprehensive five-year Government tobacco strategy for England: Comprehensive approach is vital - 70,000 lives have been saved due to falling smoking rates since the 1998, the first comprehensive government strategy on tobacco, Smoking Kills

3.    A new approach to funding, annual levy on tobacco companies to fund tobacco control: Tobacco companies make over £1bn in profit in the UK and the harms from smoking to society are significant. They should pay to address the harms they cause.

4.    A comprehensive package of measures: taken together the recommendations in this report are designed to set us on the path to a smoke free future by 2035.