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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

The cost of prohibition.

…..Of tobacco products. I just thought I’d highlight the costs involved with the eradication of tobacco smoking.

To start with I’m just going to bring up the facts of costs on the NHS supposedly from tobacco related diseases and the taxes raised from the sale of tobacco.

First is the very loose costs that are estimated to be a cost on the NHS. Supposedly the following list of ailments are associated with tobacco smoking:

Smoking causes about 90% of lung cancers. It also causes cancer in many other parts of the body including the:

  • mouth
  • lips
  • throat
  • voice box (larynx)
  • oesophagus (the tube between your mouth and stomach)
  • bladder
  • kidney
  • liver
  • stomach
  • pancreas

Smoking damages your heart and your blood circulation, increasing your risk of developing conditions such as:

Smoking also damages your lungs, leading to conditions such as:

  • chronic bronchitis (infection of the main airways in the lungs)
  • emphysema (damage to the small airways in the lungs)
  • pneumonia (inflammation in the lungs)

(Just thought I’d scare the shit out of you). However the costs seem to be very woolly. They don’t really seem to know how much it costs to treat smokers with those alleged smoking related diseases.

If current research is anything to go by, smoking is likely to be costing the NHS between £2.5 and £6 billion in today’s prices, although there’s a considerable degree of uncertainty to the estimates. SOURCE

Bearing in mind that most of those diseases are prevalent in non smokers as well, and any one admitting to being a smoker when visiting their GP/A&E, is automatically added to the list of smoking related patients. In my calculations I’m going to plump for half the higher figure. IE, £3 million.

Next we must have a look at the tax take.

The government takes in a total of about £9.5 billion in tobacco duties, and the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association estimates another £2.6 billion goes to the Treasury in VAT. So the Treasury is taking in about £12 billion directly from tobacco sales.

(Before the anti-smokers jump on the phrase “Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association”, just look at the graphic below.)


Anyway lets jump to the mathematics.

So we have a total of £12 Billion in taxes and a cost to the NHS of £3 Billion. Therefore a net taxation surplus of £9 Billion. Quite a tidy surplus for the treasury.

However Anti-smokers (and vapers), what would be the consequence if smokers gave it all up tomorrow?

Well the latest population figures for the UK are 63.7 million.

So if we divide the Net receipt of tobacco taxes of £9 Billion by 63.7 million people (Man, Woman, and child) we get a figure per year of £141 per head, of extra taxes. Or for the typical family of two adults and two children, £565.

So I’ll leave it up to you Anti-smokers. Do you really want to see the end of smoking?

Then of course they may ipmose a tax on vaping to make up for the loss of tobacco revenue. Have you thought about that, vapers?


  1. Not forgetting that all those taxes go direct to the treasury/government.
    If we all gave up tomorrow we could, after a few months, use our savings for a holiday in another Country.
    We're not simply smokers; We're PATRIOTS.
    We support the British economy by paying tax on a significant proportion of our income whereas non smokers use that extra available income on goods many of which will be imported and of benefit to the Country of manufacture or worse still on foreign holidays where their British pound is of nil benefit to our economy!!

  2. Well, that was a nice cheerful post just before dinner time.

    1. I'm not at all sure how they are able to link stomach cancer with smoking. Unless people are eating the ciggy butts.

  3. First, let me get the nasty stuff out of the way. I do not smoke. I think smoking is an unpleasant habit. Now, to the subject. The term "smoking related illness, is, surely nonsense. Are we seriously saying, if no one smoked, no one would suffer from the extensive list of illnesses you mention? I think not. It may be a sad thought, but, the fact is, we are all going to die. Not only that, we are all going to die of something. Smoking MAY hasten that day, but, not smoking will not prevent it from happening. The whole "cost to the NHS" argument, is therefore, to me, a pure fiction. Phew, I feel better now. Think I will have a drink.

    1. "Have a drink"

      You'll have the anti drink police down on you!


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