Taking action on smoking and health
The release of new UK government data on illicit tobacco today (Thursday 26 October) has shown that Big Tobacco’s scaremongering over increases in smuggled tobacco is so much hot air.
The official figures show that there has been a substantial decrease in the amount of loose tobacco being brought to the UK without paying tax, falling by 600,000kg. There has been a slight rise in the volume of cigarettes, but broadly in line with levels seen since 2010-11 and far lower than the volumes observed at the turn of the century.
In the past, tobacco companies have raised alarm at the idea of new health measures (such as plain packaging and tax rises) saying that they will lead to more illicit tobacco on the streets. However, that hasn’t happened in the past – illicit tobacco rates declined greatly from 2000 – 2010, despite a series of above-inflation tax rises and a range of other health measures coming into force.
Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, said:
“Tobacco companies scaremonger about illicit tobacco, but the truth is that it’s a steady problem that requires solid enforcement to solve. Health measures save lives – strong enforcement deals with illicit tobacco.
“Strong enforcement action has seen illicit tobacco rates fall greatly in the last 20 years. Smoking rates are declining and illicit tobacco is declining with them.
“There are real issues with illicit tobacco and we cannot be complacent. That’s why we need to continue and strengthen enforcement action, to go out and find the people dealing in illegal tobacco and put a stop to it. But Big Tobacco’s claims that health measures lead to smuggling are just so much hot air.”
ASH Scotland’s 2016 report Dodgy Cigs predicted that the tobacco industry would use illicit tobacco to scaremonger about plain packaging. The report details the industry’s history of using this threat, and its own involvement in the illegal trade. You can access the report at /dodgycigs
For further information please contact ASH Scotland on 0131 225 4725 or email@example.com . Out of hours mobile 07776 142 299
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.