Widespread support for raising taxes on tobacco

Saturday 31 May 2014

Britons are in favour of raising taxes on tobacco with a majority agreeing that tax should be increased by 5% above the rate of inflation.

To mark World No Tobacco Day [1] which this year has as its theme: “Raise tobacco tax, lower death and disease”, ASH has released figures showing that support for increasing tobacco tax is high in Britain, a country with one of the highest rates of tobacco tax in the world.

In a YouGov poll commissioned by ASH, 53% of adults in Great Britain agreed with using tax to increase the price of tobacco products 5% faster than the rate of inflation each year. Only 20% disagree with this proposal. [2]

Overall, 66% of adults support increasing the price of a pack of cigarettes with 17% opposed to the idea. Support is stronger among ex-smokers with 67% in favour and 14% against. Among current smokers, 20% favour raising the price of cigarettes while 61% disagree.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of health charity ASH commented:

“A clear majority of people are in favour of higher taxes on tobacco. This is the most effective way of cutting smoking and ultimately saving lives.

However, despite repeated tax rises over many years, cigarettes are still more affordable now than they were in the 1960s. With clear public support, the Government should be more ambitious and increase tobacco taxes significantly above the rate of inflation.”


Notes and Links:

Action on Smoking and Health is a health charity working to eliminate the harm caused by tobacco use. For more information see: www.ash.org.uk/about-ash

[1] Today is World No Tobacco Day, an initiative by the World Health Organization to encourage nations to implement a range of tobacco control measures and so reduce the annual burden of 6 million deaths a year from tobacco use. The theme this year is raising tobacco taxes. For further information see:

[2] All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 12269 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th to 14th March 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Contact: Deborah Arnott 020 7404 0242 (w) or 07976 935 987 (m)