We call on Government to introduce tobacco levy to support Stop Smoking Services

29 May 2015        

Cigarettes in an ashtray

We are calling on the Government to introduce a levy on tobacco companies that will be used to help people quit smoking in response to new national statistics.

The figures released today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), show that there was only a small decrease in the smoking rate, with nearly one in five (19%) adults in Britain aged 16 and over that were smokers in 2013.

Mike Hobday, our Director of Policy, said: “Tobacco products kill around half of the people that use them and double a person’s chance of having a heart attack or stroke. But still one in five people have not yet been able to stop smoking with the result that their heart health is at serious risk.

“These worrying figures show current strategies to help people quit smoking aren’t going far enough. As a result, smoking is placing an unsustainable demand on our health service to treat the increasing numbers of people suffering from smoking related diseases and cover the costs of providing this care.

“The Government urgently needs a new strategy to help people stop smoking. With tobacco companies continually raising their prices, this needs to include an annual levy on these companies to fund tobacco control and stop smoking services to help support people to quit.”

Disease caused by smoking

The figures also showed that there were more than 1.6 million hospital admissions for adults aged 35 for diseases that can be caused by smoking in 2013/14. This compared with 1.4 million admissions in England in 2003/4, with a primary diagnosis of a disease caused by smoking.

Around 454,700 hospital admissions were estimated to be attributable to smoking in 2013/4 compared with 447,300 admissions in 2003/4.

The hospital admissions rates due to smoking were twice as high for men than women. There were an estimated 285,000 hospital admissions that can be attributed to smoking for men, compared with 169,000 among women. This represents six per cent of all admissions for men and three per cent for women.

In the same time period (2004 to 2014), the price of tobacco has increased by 87%, making the habit 30% less affordable.