Smoking costs the UK economy over £19 billion a year, and the pressure is mounting on the UK government to increase tobacco taxes to help the move to a ‘smoke free’ world.
Research by think tank, the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC), said annual tobacco duties are worth just £9 billion, less than half the amount of the economic cost of smoking.
Although smoking is still down, with just over 14% of adults still smoking, the study said many ex-smokers live with long-term illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. These health impacts limit people’s ability to work, and the study says that if smokers had never started their earnings would be around 2% higher.
ILC said the government should raise the legal age for smoking to 21, increase tax to make them less affordable, cut the black market with a retail licensing system, and more local cessation programme locally.