The APPG tobacco control manifesto calls on the Government to make Big Tobacco pay to deliver a Smokefree Future for us all. The report also includes economic analysis showing that:
- a ‘polluter pays’ levy on tobacco manufacturers could raise up to £700 mn a year
- the cost of smoking to public finances in England is £21 bn in 2023 - nearly double tobacco tax revenues of £11 bn
- the APPG’s recommendations could save £3.1 bn for the public purse during the course of the next parliament
Incredible profitability of the tobacco industry and potential of a profit cap
Dr JR Branston, Associate Professor Business Economics, University of Bath
‘Polluter pays’ levy on tobacco manufacturers
Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH
Tobacco Industry User Fees in the United States
Mitch Zeller, former Director, FDA Center for Tobacco Products
ASH Cost Benefit and Public Finance model of smoking and return on investment for APPG tobacco control recommendations
Howard Reed, Director, Landman Economics
Modelling of the impact of the recommendations in this report, as for the 2021 APPG report, has been carried out by the Cancer Research UK funded Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group at UCL, part of the SPECTRUM academic consortium, with support from academics from Imperial College London. The illustrative modelling is available for scrutiny on the Open Science Framework.
Landman Economics have calculated a breakdown of the full economic costs of smoking to the UK and England. This includes costs to individuals, to public services including the NHS, social care and fire services, and to the wider economy. For more detail and methodology see Landman Economics Cost Benefit and Public Finances Model of Smoking November 2023.
ASH policy paper for the APPG on Smoking and Health: Establishing a Smokefree Fund sets out how the APPG recommendation of a ‘polluter pays’ levy could be operationalised by capping wholesale prices for tobacco at a level that would cover the costs of production and distribution plus a 10% profit. The difference between the capped price and the wholesale price would be made up by a health promotion levy which could raise up to £700 mn a year.
Recommendations from the report
Recommendation 1: Make the polluter pay
The APPG recommends that the Government commits to meeting the costs of Making Smoking History through the implementation of a ring-fenced windfall tax on the tobacco industry followed by a long-term levy capping the profits of the industry.
Recommendation 2: Implement and sustain all current Government and NHS tobacco control commitments
The APPG recommends:
- that the Government passes legislation before the end of this parliament for tobacco pack inserts and the smokefree generation proposal
- that the Government passes legislation before the end of this parliament to tackle the growing problem of youth vaping through stricter regulation of e-cigarettes and novel nicotine products
- that current Government tobacco control commitments for this parliament are sustained throughout the forthcoming parliament
- that NHS Long Term Plan tobacco dependence treatment commitments are fully implemented and become part of the core business of the NHS, including support for pregnant women, inpatients in physical health and mental health settings, and higher risk outpatients
- that funding is secured to provide tobacco dependence treatment for all smokers attending Targeted Lung Health Checks
- that the offer of tobacco dependence treatment in the NHS occupational health programme is fully implemented and extended to all staff in social care
Recommendation 3: Implement all APPG 2021 recommendations
The APPG recommends:
- that the new investment in mass media campaigns is expanded to target deprived communities especially in the North and the Midlands
- that every year all smokers are advised to quit and given an opt-out referral to stop smoking services
- that smokers in social housing are targeted and provided with specialist stop smoking support
- that national funding and support is made available to enable the extension of regional tobacco control programmes to the whole of England
- that cigarette sticks carry mandatory warnings and all tobacco flavourings are prohibited
- that the Economic Operator ID scheme is adapted to enable a register of all retailers to be published and to provide powers to remove the right to sell tobacco from retailers caught selling underage
Recommendation 4: Chart the route to a smokefree future
The APPG recommends that progress towards the smokefree goal is benchmarked and monitored such that policy measures can be reviewed and revised on an annual basis to keep the trajectory on course.