Smokers are forced to pay an extra 27p per packet
On March 11th, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that cigarette tax would rise by 2% above inflation. On average, smokers will now have pay around 27p more per packet of cigarettes. This takes the average price of 20 cigarettes from £12.46 to £12.73.
The government has set a target of creating a smokefree country by 2030. This basically means that UK smoking prevalence must drop to below 5%. In recent years, a number of new initiatives have come into force, including plain packaging and the abolishment of 10 packs. The new tax levy mirrors last year’s budget alteration to tobacco tax, as cigarette prices were also increased by 2% above inflation, in 2019.
The update came into force on the very day of the budget and while it may not seem like a huge increase, smokers must be feeling the difference after years of constant hikes. The latest increase means a 20 a day smoker will be spending an extra £100 each year to sustain their smoking habit. It is unlikely that this price change will be enough to trigger smokers to instantly give up. However, with the average cigarette packet costing a 20 a day smoker more than £4,600 a year, these consistent levy increases are surely taking their tole on smokers. Nevertheless, quitting is smoking is easier said than done, so what is the government doing to support quit attempts.
Besides cigarette tax, what else is the government doing to tackle smoking rates?
Smokers will undoubtedly be aggrieved by the news of yet another increase to cigarette tax. Some may argue that this could have a detrimental effect on smokers; particularly those in lower socio-economic groups. Adding weight to this point is the fact that since 2015, NHS budget cuts have seen funding of stop smoking clinics slashed dramatically.
Fortunately for the government, the rise of vaping has helped millions of smokers ditch cigarettes, with very little external help from government funding. However, the UK smoking rate still sits at around 15%, and 37% of these smokers haven’t even tried vaping. We therefore hope that the money generated through this excess tobacco tax is reinvested in smoking cessation services and used to help maximise the potential of vaping as a smoking cessation aid.
The UK government and Public Health England are now both strong advocates of e-cigarettes. Local councils and smoking cessation clinics are also increasingly using e-cigarettes in their efforts to cut smoking prevalence. Totally Wicked has worked on a number of schemes with NHS bodies and smoking cessation clinics.
Earlier this year, Totally Wicked worked with Mersey Care to provide free byte kits to both staff and patients. Totally Wicked also worked with Northampton’s stop smoking service; providing free Skope S e-cigarette kits to smokers who signed up to the trial. These are just a couple of examples and there are government funded schemes which see the NHS and local stop smoking services working with vape businesses to help maximise the potential of e-cigarettes.
This is great to see, but more can surely be done with the help of government funding. Simply adding a levy to tobacco products may deter a lot of people from starting smoking but if hardened smokers are to quit, more support needs to be there.
Do you agree with the tobacco tax hike? Let us know in the comments.
If you’re looking to make the switch to vaping, visit Totally Wicked’s New to Vaping page or contact us via phone, email, WhatsApp or social media. To set you off on your vaping journey, be sure to use the code NEW15 for a 15% price reduction!