Taking action on smoking and health
Scots want higher taxes on tobacco products, with a majority agreeing on using tax to increase the price of tobacco products by 5% more than the rate of inflation each year.
And they see tobacco tax as a better way for the Government to raise money than a range of other options.
Agreement on using tax to increase the price of tobacco products by 5% faster than the rate of inflation each year is higher than support for taxing alcohol, gambling winnings or a ‘green tax’ on energy companies.
Health charity ASH Scotland has released the new figures on World No Tobacco Day (May 31), which has the theme of increasing tax on tobacco to reduce consumption.
In a YouGov poll for the charity, 53% of people in Scotland agree with using tax to increase the price of tobacco products 5% faster than the rate of inflation each year. A total of 21% disagree with the idea.
There was 51% agreement among ex-smokers while 21% disagreed. Among current smokers, 18% agreed but 65% per cent were against the move.
The survey also asked people about their support for a number of options for the Government to increase taxes to reduce the amount it borrows each year.
Increasing the price of a pack of cigarettes gained 69% support, with 17% opposed to the idea. Ex-smokers expressed 71% support compared to 14% against, while current smokers showed 25% support and 60% disagreement.
Only increasing the tax on bank bonuses by raising the ‘bank levy’ was more popular than higher tobacco tax (74% support, 8% opposition), with a “mansion tax” on properties worth over £2million equally favoured (69% for, 11% against).
Other options, which gained less support, were: a tax on gambling winnings (51% support, 29% opposition); a hike in tax on alcohol (40% support, 38% opposition); a ‘green tax’ on energy companies (36% support, 32% opposition); a one-off property tax on personal wealth (30% support, 34% opposition); a rise in VAT (5% support, 81% opposition), increase income tax (17% support, 64% opposition) or raising ‘corporation tax’ (45% support, 21% opposition); charging VAT on children’s clothes (7% support, 81% opposition) or food (3% support, 87% opposition).
ASH Scotland Chief Executive Sheila Duffy said: (click here for video)
“We are pleased that people in Scotland recognise the importance of increasing tobacco taxes.
“It is the most effective way to cut tobacco use and save lives. It is a measure that has a significant impact on public health and is highly cost-effective, inexpensive and easy to implement.
“Countries around the world have successfully increased tobacco taxes, decreased tobacco use and brought in significant new government revenue.
“While the tobacco companies complain loudly about the level of taxation, analysis indicates that nearly 50% of recent price rises in the UK stem from the industry itself putting up its prices.”
Action on Smoking & Health (Scotland) (ASH Scotland) is a registered Scottish charity (SC 010412) and a company limited by guarantee(Scottish company no 141711). The registered office is 8 Frederick Street, Edinburgh EH2 2HB.
ASH Scotland acknowledges with thanks the support of the British Heart Foundation and the Scottish Government in developing our website.