UK cancer charity seeks health levy on cigarettes

| January 27, 2016

The charity Cancer Research UK is calling on the government to make the tobacco industry contribute towards tobacco control through a levy of 1p on every cigarette sold in the country.

Earlier this month, a report published by the charity indicated that cuts to public health funding mean that local Stop Smoking Services are being closed down.

‘In response, the charity is launching a new “Cough Up” campaign, and wants the public to support a simple solution to the problem – making the tobacco industry pay for public health services and mass media quit campaigns to help save thousands of lives,’ the charity said in a note posted on its website.

‘By charging the industry around 1p per cigarette sold in the UK, an extra £500 million could be raised and spent directly on tobacco control.’

Cancer Research UK said that smoking killed more than 100,000 people in the UK every year and that tobacco use costs England alone about £13.8 billion each year; a figure that included the direct costs to the National Health Service, and lost work days and productivity due to smoking-related illness. Internationally, the tobacco industry made about £30 billion in profit.

“For too long the tobacco industry has had an easy ride, making money without having to spend a single pound on the damage its products cause,” Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK’s director of cancer prevention, was quoted as saying.

“It continues to profit from selling a highly addictive and lethal product that causes illness and death.

“Tobacco companies make billions of pounds every year; so we’d like to see them using their profits to keep Stop Smoking Services open and fund advertising campaigns to help people quit. At a time when health budgets are stretched, this is a simple solution to a lethal problem. We urge the government to make the industry cough up.”

Category: Breaking News

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