Research Article

Economic aspects of tobacco use and taxation policy.

BMJ 1988; 297 doi: (Published 30 July 1988) Cite this as: BMJ 1988;297:339
  1. C. Godfrey,
  2. A. Maynard
  1. University of York.


    Tax levels have important effects on cigarette prices and tax revenues. Over 70p of every pound spent on tobacco goes to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, yielding over 5 billion pounds. But the value of tobacco tax revenues have generally fallen--by 1986 they were 10% lower than at their peak in 1965, and tobacco revenue is becoming a smaller proportion of total tax receipts. The impact of a consistent increase in tobacco taxation is important in terms of reduced consumption (and harm to health) as well as in terms of reduced employment. Revenue may, however, increase in the short term. Finally, if the findings of Townsend and Atkinson et al (see above) still apply then the distributive effects of increased taxation on the poor might be less than is sometimes feared.