Smoking Group Tells York Council to "Butt Out" of Cigarette Prices
12:44pm 30th May 2014
A smokers' rights group has told York Council to "butt out" as the authority pushes Chancellor George Osborne for heavier increases in tobacco taxes.
Ahead of No Smoking Day tomorrow, York Council has called for Chancellor George Osborne to raise tobacco prices by 5% above general price rises. The government is planning a 2% rise above inflation but the council says price rises can help stop working class teenagers taking up the habit.
Linsay Cunningham-Cross, York Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Chair of York’s Health and Wellbeing Board said: “Despite the great steps forward in recent years 28,888 people still smoke in York. This translates into hundreds of preventable deaths every year – more than from any other cause. Reducing the number of deaths caused by smoking is a key public health priority for City of York Council."
"Over the last few years we have worked hard to reduce smoking in the area and have increased the number of stop smoking sessions held in the city as well as signing the Local Government Declaration on tobacco control; highlighting our commitment to working towards a smoke free city."
"However, raising the price of tobacco through increasing taxation is the most effective way of reducing smoking rates and saving lives. That is why we are calling on the Chancellor to be bold and raise the tax by 5% above inflation to further motivate smokers to quit."
The authority states that two thirds of smokers start before the age of 18 and in York almost 500 children aged between 11 and 15 are smokers.
But pro-smokers group Forest argues that putting up prices would lead to more smuggling which would increase the chances of cigarettes getting to children.
Director of Forest, Simon Clark, has also criticised the council for getting involved in what is a central government matter.
For information on how to quit smoking visit http://www.york.gov.uk and search for smoking.
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