HL Deb 16 June 1980 vol 410 cc953-4WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

  1. (i) what is the estimated proportion of the population that smokes cigarettes;
  2. (ii) what is the estimated cost to the economy of sickness, early death, et cetera due to cigarette smoking.
  3. (iii) what is the estimated cost within and without the National Health Service of treatment of illness due to cigarette smoking;
  4. (iv) what is the cost to the economy of fires due to cigarette smoking; and
  5. (v) what is the entire revenue from the taxes and duties raised on cigarettes, excluding the cost of collection, and showing each tax or duty separately.


It is estimated that about 40 per cent. of the adult population of Great Britain smoke cigarettes.

Estimates cannot be made with any reliability either of the full cost to the economy of the sickness and premature death associated with cigarette smoking or of the cost of treatment of such illness, and none has been made recently. But 50 million working days have been estimated to be lost each year in Great Britain as a result of diseases related to smoking, and in 1970–71 it was estimated that the annual cost of treatment of such diseases was £36 million.

Figures are not available for the cost to the economy of fires caused by cigarettes; but 7,750 fires in buildings in 1978 are known to have been started by lighted tobacco.

In 1979–80 the estimated revenue, exclusive of cost of collection, was £2,320 million from excise duty on cigarettes and £395 million for VAT. Customs duties charged, in addition, on unmanufactured tobacco imported from outside the EEC cannot be directly attributed to cigarettes manufactured in the United Kingdom for home consumption. Figures for customs duty on imported cigarettes are not available.