Smoking and the public purse

By Christopher Snowdon; Mark Tovey

This discussion paper provides the first estimate of the net effect of smoking on UK taxpayers per annum. Up until now, estimates have used a methodology that typically includes intangible costs, including costs to smokers themselves, while ignoring tangible savings to the state and tax revenues from tobacco duty. We estimate a net saving of £14.7 billon per annum at current rates of consumption, with the costs smokers incur significantly outweighed by the sum of tobacco duty paid and old-age expenditures avoided due to premature mortality.

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