Welcome to the parents section of "smoke's no joke". We aim to arm you with all the information you need to tackle family smoking issues.

Downing Street

The economics of tobacco

A 20-a-day smoker will spend around £2,000 each year on cigarettes.

Actually buying cigarettes isn't the only financial consideration. There's a cost implication affecting many areas of life. Smokers pay more for their life insurance and house insurance for example, their homes are worth less than a comparable home belonging to a non-smoker as does their car, they may need to redecorate and replace furnishings more frequently and spend more money on laundry services.

Smokers pay over and over again and cigarette consumption is a major consideration for the UK economy.

TThe tax paid on every packet of cigarettes is a lucrative source of revenue to the Government. A pack of 20 premium brand cigarettes currently costs around £6.95 of which £5.40 or 78% goes to the Treasury (Aug 2011). In the financial year 2009/10, the Treasury took over £8 billion in tobacco duties, excluding VAT.

The above figures have not taken into account the March 2012 budget tax increase of 37p per packet of cigarettes, which for a 20 a day smoker increases their spending by £135 a year, a figure already in the region of £2,000 per year.

Tobacco duty is not adjusted according to a person's ability to pay so for people on low incomes, this is a significantly higher proportion of their income than for wealthier people.

And this 'smoking tax' is in addition to the income tax and national insurance contributions working smokers pay.

NHS Piggy Bank

The Government has to balance this 'source of income' with the costs to the economy. This includes the provision of health care to treat smoking related illness along with working days lost, social security payments and dealing with tobacco related crime, not to mention the huge sums lost to industry through loss of productivity and absenteeism.


The cost to the NHS alone of treating smoking related diseases is around £2.7 billion per year.

The amount of tax paid by smokers, both directly and indirectly does not cover the amount of money needed to support the consequences of smoking to the economy.

For more information please refer to the Tobacco Crime section

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