ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN

•  At least eight million adults in the UK choose to smoke tobacco, a legal consumer product.

•  In the last parliament the Coalition Government maintained the tobacco duty escalator (2% above inflation) that it inherited from the previous Labour government.

•  In 2011 the Chancellor implemented a one-off increase to 5% above inflation, before returning to 2% in 2012. 

•  During the last parliament tobacco taxation in the UK increased by more than 40%.

•  The total tax on the price of the cheapest cigarettes in the UK is now 88%.

•  In 2014/15 smokers in the UK paid a total of £12.1 billion in duty and VAT. According to EU Commission, the UK has the highest excise yield on cigarettes in the EU. 

•  Punitive taxation encourages criminal activity and fuels the black market. In 2014/15 the Government lost an estimated £2.6 billion in revenue as a result of non-UK duty paid tax on tobacco (£2.1 billion to illicit traders, £0.5 billion to legitimate cross-border shopping.) 

•  Illicit trade (including counterfeit cigarettes) puts children at greater risk because criminals don't respect age restrictions. 

•  Law-abiding consumers who buy tobacco from legitimate retailers in the UK are disproportionately penalised.

•  Excessive taxation compounds poverty and increases inequality because those hardest hit are the elderly and people from lower socio-economic backgrounds.