Tobacco Tax and Illicit Trade

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The #QuitforCovid campaign launched in early 2020 in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. COVID-19 is a new illness caused by a virus that can affect people’s lungs and airways. Symptoms of COVID-19 include a cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath. There are some groups of people who may be more at risk of serious illness if they catch coronavirus, including older people, people with long term health conditions and people who are immunosuppressed. Emerging evidence suggests people who smoke are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 infection.

If you or someone you know wants to stop smoking, there are a range of tools available to support you. Visit the NHS Smokefree website to find out more.

Increasing tobacco taxes is one of the most effective tobacco control measures. Making cigarettes less affordable leads to lower uptake of smoking and increased quit rates.

It is recognised that raising tobacco taxes is one of the most effective mechanisms for reducing tobacco consumption. Raising tobacco taxes is important in reducing health inequalities caused by smoking because youth and low-income groups are most price sensitive. 

Given that tobacco accounts for around half the difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest. The potential gains in addressing health inequalities though action on tobacco is substantial. However, this must come alongside enforcement of trading standards to prevent the illicit trade of tobacco. 

The illicit tobacco market continues to undermine tobacco control policies. The market has decreased substantially over the last 15 years. 

By avoiding UK tobacco tax, smuggled tobacco products can be significantly cheaper. This dilutes the impact fiscal measures have on encouraging smokers to quit.

See also

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Your local service that helps people quit smoking could be at risk as a result of cuts to public health funding. 

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