Cheap fags and boozeBMJ 2019; 366 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l5563 (Published 16 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5563
- Jo Bibby, director for health,
- Adam Briggs, public health specialty registrar
- Health Foundation, UK
A recent announcement by the chancellor promoted cheap cigarettes and alcohol as something we can all look forward to following a no deal Brexit. A government department promoting the use of tobacco and alcohol at a time when life expectancy is stalling—and, for some groups, falling—is, at best, ignorance, and, at worst, shameless political marketing.
Despite falling smoking rates, tobacco use remains the leading cause of death and second leading cause of disability in the UK.1 In England alone, it is responsible for 200 deaths a day and costs the economy an estimated £14.7bn (€16.5bn; $18.3bn) a year.2
The societal costs of alcohol related harm are even higher, estimated at more than £20bn annually. It’s not …