Scots spend £1 billion a year on fags

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Ash Scotland says reluctant smokers are spending £1 billion a year on a habit they want to break

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21st October 2016 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

Scots are spending a staggering £1 billion a year on cigarettes because they are not getting the help they need to quit.

Anti-smoking charity ASH Scotland said people living in the most deprived communities in Scotland fork out a third of that cash even thought two-thirds of them want to quit. 

The charity released the figures for Challenge Poverty Week. With a packet of 20 cigarettes now costing up to £9.60, it is calling for Scotland to provide more effective measures to help people quit.

Sheila Duffy

Sheila Duffy

For every 1% drop in the smoking rate in the most deprived fifth of Scotland, £12.5 million a year is released back into those communities

Sheila Duffy, ASH Scotland’s chief executive, said: “We know that two thirds of smokers want to quit, and that giving them the right support and encouragement helps them to do so. But unfortunately we simply aren’t doing enough, and the ongoing costs to communities are clear to see.

“Tobacco use disproportionately affects the poorest people in the country, helping to trap them in poverty. For every 1% drop in the smoking rate in the most deprived fifth of Scotland, £12.5 million a year is released back into those communities.

“We have to look at how we can support people to achieve their goal of stopping smoking. TV advertising for stop-smoking services has been off our screens for several years, despite the fact that we know that it works and is cost-effective. To meet the government target of a tobacco-free Scotland by 2034, we need to help the two thirds of smokers who want to quit to achieve their goal.”

Data from the Scottish Health Survey 2015 shows that 68% of smokers want to quit, and that smokers smoke an average of 12.6 cigarettes a day.

Using industry price figures, and estimates for use of hand-rolling and illicit tobacco, ASH Scotland has calculated the average cost of a single cigarette to be just over 35p.