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Increase cigarette taxes to reward pregnant quitters, says report

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Cigarette taxes should be increased to pay for controversial smoking cessation measures for pregnant women, a report has claimed.

The report from the charity Policy Exchange suggests that the money raised could be used to offer a £10-a-week “reward” to women who give up smoking while expecting a child. It also called for a 5% hike on tobacco tax in next week’s budget - an increase that would see the cost of 20 cigarettes soar by £1.29 to an average price of £7.42.

The think tank said the increased levy was justified because the cost of smoking to the NHS far outweighed the money the habit raised, claiming that while the Treasury received a total of £10 billion each year because of smoking, the habit cost the state £13.74 billion - leaving a bill of 6.5p per cigarette to be met by the taxpayer.

Policy Exchange chiefs also want to see more extensive use of Champix, a drug said to make the process of giving-up much easier.

Henry Featherstone, head of Policy Exchange’s health and social care unit, said: “Targeted action like this would help reduce England’s growing health inequalities, whereby those on lower incomes suffer more ill health, which can largely be attributed to smoking.”

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Tax - the solution to everything!

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  • while i strongly believe that women should give up smoking whilst pregnant who on earth came up with the stupid idea of rewarding them for gving up whilst pregnant if you consider your childs health you would not smoke at all, why not reward over weight mums who lose weight as well, or those who stop drinking, all of these issies affect the unborn child. where will all this stop i am taxed like everyone else to an inch of my life i dont smoke and have an occasional glass of wine i eat healthly,why not reward me for abstaining ? and living a healthly life style there is so much help and education available now on all manner of things plough the money in to that or is it an another ploy to give the tax man more money

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