March 10, 2020
Anti-smoking lobby group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) have urged the new Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to ‘reduce the affordability’ of tobacco products ahead of his first budget on Wednesday (11 March).
The budget falls on No Smoking Day and Hazel Cheeseman, director of policy at ASH wants the government to take advantage of the coincidence.
She said: “The Chancellor has an opportunity to take a real stride forward in protecting the public’s health. Making tobacco less affordable 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.”
ASH, along with 70 other charities wants the government to create a £300m annual levy on tobacco companies to create a Smokefree 2030 Fund making the industry “pay for the damage it does”.
Charities supporting the move include Cancer Research UK, the British Lung Foundation and the British Heart Foundation.
There is also a call for a reintroduction of the tax escalator and take steps to close the gap in tax between hand rolled tobacco and factory-made cigarettes.