What will the Chancellor do for smokers this No Smoking Day?



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10 March 2020

What will the Chancellor do for smokers this No Smoking Day?

Public health charity calls for the Chancellor to do his bit to help smokers quit in his first Budget which falls on No Smoking Day this year.

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is joined by over 10 public health organisations including Cancer Research UK, British Lung Foundation and British Heart Foundation in calling on the Chancellor to do more to reduce the affordability of tobacco products; one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking. Smoking is the leading cause of premature death, killing 100,000 people in the UK each year and leaving thousands more living with a serious smoking-related illness.

Specifically, charities want to see the Chancellor reintroduce the tax escalator and take steps to close the gap in tax between hand rolled tobacco and factory-made cigarettes. Most importantly they want to see Treasury backing for a new Smokefree 2030 Fund to deliver on the Government’s commitment for a smokefree country by 2030. The charities are calling for a specific levy on tobacco companies to raise a £300 million annual fund to pay for the measures needed to help more smokers quit and prevent children from taking up smoking.

Hazel Cheeseman, Director of Policy, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) said:

“With his first Budget falling on No Smoking Day, 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.”

If the Government is to meet its ambition of a Smokefree England by 2030,[1] funding is needed to help smokers quit and prevent young people from taking up smoking. ASH, together with over 70 organisation is calling for a Smokefree 2030 Fund to make the tobacco industry pay for the damage it does.[2]

This week The King’s Fund published a report highlighting the positive contribution taxes have made to addressing public health problems such as smoking and advocating for further action.

ENDS

Notes and links:

ASH staff are available for interview and have an ISDN line. For more information send an email to press@ash.org.uk or ring 020 7404 0242. Out of hours contact Deborah Arnott (Chief Executive, ASH) on 07976 935 987 or Hazel Cheeseman (Director of Policy, ASH) on 077 5435 8593.

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