New Research Suggests That The Price Of Cigarettes Should Be Doubled

The price of cigarettes should rise again to make them nearly £20 per pack, according to new research.

Doing so would help people save money – plus it will save millions of lives, a study claims.
Apparently doubling the price of fags could lead to 'unprecedented health gains and poverty reduction', experts say.

People who live on the lowest incomes stand to gain the most, not just in their lungs, but also in their wallets.

Hundreds of millions of people die early as a result of smoking related illnesses, and if the current trend continues around 1 billion people will die in the 21st century as a result of cigarettes.

The research set out to prove that increasing the price of cigs by 50% would lead to less smoking related health problems as well as an improvement in poverty.

Credit: PA

The researchers used a computer model based on 13 countries and up to 500 million male smokers. The model sought to measure the impact of the price hike on age and income group.

They found that nearly 450 million years of life could be gained across the countries studied - around half of those in China.

The poorest income group also stood to gain the most in terms of life increase, gaining around seven years.

The study was conducted by the University of Toronto and St Michael's Hospital. Professor Prabhat Jha, who helped create the research said: "Our study debunks the current narrative that higher cigarette prices would negatively impact the poorest among us.

"This analysis shows the opposite - a higher price would encourage cessation, lead to better health, and save money much more strongly for the poor than the rich."

The logic is that an increase in the amount of tax on cigarettes is the best way to 'help' people to quit smoking. If they can't afford to smoke then they won't, it argues.


It also discourages young people to take up a smoking habit if they are prohibitively expensive.

Cigarettes are already heavily taxed in a lot of countries including the UK, but the new study - published in the medical journal BMJ - found that increasing the prices even more could have yet greater effects.

Credit: PA

Deborah Arnott, who is the Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) told The Sun: "Putting taxes up does encourage many poorer smokers to quit, but those who don't are doubly disadvantaged.

"That's why ASH believes increased tobacco taxes to pay for measures that help smokers quit like mass media campaigns and specialist stop smoking services."

Patricio Marquez, public health specialist at the World Bank, said: "Not only does increasing tobacco taxation reduce smoking and its health consequences, but the study's findings are also relevant to the United Nations sustainable development goals to reduce poverty and improve health."


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