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Tobacco control renews demand for levy to fund stop smoking services

Two weeks ago Cancer Research UK complained that local authorities were cutting budgets for stop smoking services.

According to George Butterworth, CRUK’s tobacco policy manager:

“These services are under threat from a lack of sustainable funding. The Government must establish a sustainable funding model for local tobacco control and stop smoking services before they are eroded further ...

“We believe the tobacco industry should pay for the damage their products cause. A levy on the tobacco industry should be used to provide sustainable funding for Stop Smoking Services and mass media campaigns to help people quit.”

See Stop Smoking Services at threat as funding comes under pressure (CRUK).

Now, six weeks before the Budget in March, CRUK has launched a campaign and petition calling on the tobacco industry to "cough up" (sic).

Cancer Research UK is today (Tuesday) calling on the Government to make the tobacco industry pay for the damage it causes and help reduce the number of people killed by its deadly product.

Earlier this month a report published by Cancer Research UK revealed that cuts to public health funding mean local Stop Smoking Services are being closed down.

In response, the charity is launching a new “Cough Up” campaign, and wants the public to support a simple solution to the problem – making the tobacco industry pay for public health services and mass media quit campaigns to help save thousands of lives.

Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK’s director of cancer prevention, said: “For too long the tobacco industry has had an easy ride, making money without having to spend a single pound on the damage its products cause. It continues to profit from selling a highly addictive and lethal product that causes illness and death.

"Tobacco companies make billions of pounds every year, so we’d like to see them using their profits to keep Stop Smoking Services open and fund advertising campaigns to help people quit. At a time when health budgets are stretched, this is a simple solution to a lethal problem. We urge the Government to make the industry cough up.”

Earlier this evening (following a late tip-off) Forest issued this response:

The smokers' group Forest has urged the government to reject calls to make tobacco companies "cough up" to help reduce the number of smokers in the UK.

Cancer Research UK wants the tobacco industry to fund public health services and mass media quit campaigns.

According to CRUK, by charging the industry around 1p per cigarette sold in the UK, an extra £500m could be raised and spent directly on tobacco control.

Simon Clark, director of Forest, said: “A tobacco levy would almost certainly be passed on to the consumer.

"Enough's enough. Smokers already contribute £10 billion a year in tobacco tax. That far outweighs the alleged cost of treating smoking-related diseases. Why should they pay more?

“Another increase in price would hit the elderly, the low paid and others who can least afford it. It would also hurt convenience stores because it would fuel illicit trade.”

He added: "Nothing has changed since the Chancellor rejected a tobacco levy last year. This is just another attempt to recycle a tired idea that has very little support."

For those who don't remember, here's a reminder of what happened last year – Tobacco levy, ASH and Forest's response and ASH's demand for tobacco levy goes up in smoke.

Like the European Commission the unelected tobacco control industry doesn't take 'No' for an answer, hence they're back (with reinforcements).

If Osborne withstands the persistent pounding on the door of No 11 I'll be pleasantly surprised.

Sugar tax, tobacco levy, minimum pricing of alcohol … Strap yourselves in, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

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Reader Comments (5)

The one's getting the free ride are the healthist lifestyle controllers (tobacco and alcohol control industries). They have been extracting resources from smokers and now drinkers to fund their Ponzi scheme. They should have their funds cut off and then get prosecuted for extortion and racketeering.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 0:38 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

Doesn’t it occur to these zealots that maybe, just maybe, the falling number of people turning to these holier-than-thou Stop Smoking Services might also have had a bearing on the Government’s decision to cut funding? The advent of e-cigarettes, the increasing awareness of the staggering failure rate of the Big Pharma-produced NRT products (which seem to be the only thing that the NHS stop smoking groups are interested in foisting off on people, whether they suit them or not) and the fact that the over-exaggerated nature of the stated health risks associated with smoking is daily becoming clearer with more and more never-smokers or long-term ex-smokers falling prey to the very illnesses they hoped to avoid by avoiding tobacco, all conspire to discourage many smokers from going anywhere near any of these happy-clappy little anti-smoking groups with their heads in the clouds and visions of a perfect little world where everyone runs marathons with a rictus-style grin plastered on their faces, or skips merrily through the meadows, hand in hand with their rosy-cheeked children.

I know for certain that in the unlikely event that I ever decided to try and stop smoking, absolutely the last way I’d choose to do it would be with the “help” of a Stop Smoking Service, when I know that their idea of “help” would be absolutely no “help” to me at all. And I suspect I’m not alone.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 1:18 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

Aren't CRUK one of the charities getting a last warning from government over aggressive soliciting of donations from elderly and other vulnerable people, with the threat of much firmer legislation if they continue?
Hardly an organisation you would turn to for guidance on acting like a decent human being.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 13:21 | Unregistered CommenterManx Gent

As Max pointed out CRUK is indeed one of the main culprits in all the underhand activities carried out routinely through sub contractors.

The report holds no punches, stating that:

"All the chief executives of the charities that gave oral evidence to us admitted that they did not scrutinise fundraising by sub-contractors enough. The only possible conclusion is that, by failing in this responsibility, trustees were either not competent, or wilfully blind to what was being done in their names."

The only change I would make to their conclusion are:

"the trustees are incompetent and wilfully blind"

A shortened version of their report is here:

and I have to admit to being encouraged that at long last notice is being taken of these out of control bloated "charities".

Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 21:06 | Unregistered CommenterSmoking Scot

The smoking ban was a huge factor in the creation of the explosion in people suffering from mental health issues. Central and Local Government have to accept the consequences and provide support for their actions that were based on fake science and propaganda.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 at 0:02 | Unregistered CommenterHelen D

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