A leading cancer charity is calling for the Government to make the tobacco industry pay a penny for every cigarette sold in the UK, to help fund public health services and media campaigns for quitting smoking.
Cancer Research UK said it was launching its ‘Cough up’ campaign in response to cuts to public health funding that mean local councils are closing down Stop Smoking services.
The charity said charging the industry around 1p per cigarette could raise an extra £500m to be spent directly on tobacco control.
It comes after a Pulse investigation showed Councils are cutting hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of funding from smoking cessation services as a result of the Government’s cuts to public health spending.
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.’