Tobacco smuggling: Customs clampdown better than tax climbdown

Wednesday 22 April 1998

ASH/ Press releases/


102 Clifton Street, London EC2A 4HW Tel: (020) 7739 5902 Fax: (020) 7613 0531

Press release22 April 1998 ASH
Action on Smoking
and Health


Tobacco smuggling: Customs clampdown better than tax climbdown, says ASH


The Government’s announcement today of new penalties for tobacco smuggling waswelcomed by ASH as a further rejection of the tobacco lobby’s argument that tobaccotaxes should be frozen or reduced to combat cigarette smuggling.

“It’s good news. The tobacco industry has been pushing the Government to cave in to illegal activity and cut tobacco duty, but no self-respecting government should allow its tax and health policy to be dictated by criminal gangs and petty smugglers” said Clive Bates, Director of ASH.

“A clampdown on smuggling is much better than a climbdown on cigarette tax.” added Bates.

Tobacco taxes encourage smokers to quit, cut down or never start. For every priceincrease of 10% consumption drops by about 5%. In the UK this would amount to about fourbillion cigarettes per year. This translates directly to a health benefit – saving around4,000 lives per year in the long run. If taxes are lowered the opposite happens and morepeople die as a result. This is why it is important to keep taxes high and deal withsmuggling through enforcement action and penalties.



Contact Clive Bates, Director (020) 7739 5902
Amanda Sandford, Communications Director (020) 7739 5902

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