The Government is being urged to force the tobacco industry to “cough up” cash for the damage caused by smoking. Cancer Research UK says if tobacco companies are charged around 1p for every cigarette sold in the UK, an extra £500m could be raised.
The charity said the funds raised could go to public health schemes that are facing cuts, such as local Stop Smoking Services.
Smoking kills more than 100,000 people in the UK every year, meaning the tobacco industry makes a profit of more than £4,000 for every UK death caused by smoking, according to the charity’s analysis.
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.”