Health

Smokers puffed 20million fewer cigarettes a month after plain packets and tax hike, study says


UK smokers puffed 20million fewer cigarettes a month thanks to plain packets and a tax hike, research has shown.

The 2017 ban on branding, plus the minimum excise tax, caused the drop in cig sales, which had been falling at the rate of 12million a month.

Plain packaging has led to a drop in smoking, study finds

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Plain packaging has led to a drop in smoking, study findsCredit: Rex Features

The tobacco industry’s after-tax revenue was down by 13 per cent, from £231million to £198million per month, say researchers from the University of Bath.

But the data from May 2015 to April 2018 did show rolling tobacco sales were on the up.

Prof Anna Gilmore, of the University of Bath, said: “Governments considering plain packaging can be reassured this policy works. The industry opposes because it threatens its profitability.”

Prof Gilmore added: “With coronavirus already posing a threat to tobacco company sales, and plain packaging of tobacco taking off in other jurisdictions, our findings are more bad news for tobacco companies.”

Sarah Bullock, policy adviser for Cancer Research UK said: “Smoking continues to be the leading preventable cause of cancer in the world.

“This study suggests that increasing tobacco taxes and introducing standardised ‘plain’ packaging has helped to reduce the number of cigarettes smoked in the UK.

“Measures like these, which reduce the use of this deadly product and ultimately save lives, should be a priority for all governments.”

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