Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation Supports Making Tobacco Companies Foot The Bill For Reducing Smoking

Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is backing calls on the Government to impose an annual levy on tobacco companies.

The money raised would pay for stop smoking services which could save tens of thousands of lives over the next decade and play a key role in helping to reduce costs to the NHS from preventable ill health [1].

The new report, Smoking Still Kills [2], was published by ASH today and calls for a new comprehensive strategy on tobacco paid for by placing a levy on the tobacco industry. 

Every year smoking costs the NHS at least £2 billion and a further £10.8 billion in wider costs to society including social care costs of over £1 billion [3].

New ASH research also reveals that in England over 1.7 million households who live below the poverty line include an adult that smokes. If they quit over half a million households in England would be lifted out of poverty [4].

Lisa Williams, from Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, said: “Tobacco companies sell products which kill people. That is a scientific fact.

“If people don’t smoke they are less likely to get diseases, such as lung cancer.

“Therefore, it doesn’t seem beyond the realms of imagination that the tobacco companies should pay to fix the problems they cause.”

In the March budget earlier this year the Chancellor committed the Government to consult further on imposing a levy on tobacco companies [5]. 

Smoking Still Kills calls for:

1. A new vision for the country with ambitious target of achieving 5% smoking rate by 2035: No one should be left behind as we achieve a tobacco free future and health inequalities must not be allowed to widen
2. A new comprehensive five-year Government tobacco strategy for England: Comprehensive approach is vital - 70,000 lives have been saved due to falling smoking rates since the 1998, the first comprehensive government strategy on tobacco, Smoking Kills
3. A new approach to funding, annual levy on tobacco companies to fund tobacco control: Tobacco companies make over £1bn in profit in the UK and the harms from smoking to society are significant. They should pay to address the harms they cause.
4. A comprehensive package of measures: taken together the recommendations in this report are designed to set us on the path to a smokefree future by 2035.

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