Tobacco tax rise is welcome but needs to be backed by anti-smuggling measures

Wednesday 22 April 2009

ASH welcomed the above-inflation increase in tobacco tax announced in today’s Budget.
The tax rise will help reduce smoking by encouraging current smokers to quit and dissuading young people from starting. However, ASH urged the Government to re-double its efforts to curb tobacco smuggling to stop the illegal trade undermining a sound tax policy.

ASH had also called for an overhaul of the current tax system that allows tobacco companies to deduct marketing costs as legitimate business expenses, thus reducing their liability for corporation tax.
Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of the health campaigning charity ASH, said:

“The tax rise will help to cut smoking rates but to be really effective it should be backed by stronger measures to curb smuggling. The Government’s new strategy announced last year needs to be underpinned by tough new targets to reduce the market share of smuggled tobacco.”



Notes and links:
In a submission to the Treasury in advance of the Budget, ASH and 30 health and welfare organisations called for a strengthened ant-smuggling strategy to include:
setting of new targets for the reduction in market share of illicit tobacco;
explicit resource commitments to be published alongside the anti smuggling strategy;
an improvement in cross-Government collaboration.