Poor will be hit hardest Pressure mounts on Rishi Sunak over cigarette tax hike

Brexit: Rishi Sunak on tax system that makes 'no sense'

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The Chancellor has announced a rise by 88p to around £13.60 for the most expensive of cigarettes, punishing smokers in the process. But smoking bodies have warned that it will be the poorest of society who will be affected by the rise in taxation.

Discussing the tobacco market, HM Revenue & Customs says: “The illicit tobacco market in the UK has changed significantly since 2000.

“Historically it was made up of genuine UK brands of tobacco smuggled from lower-priced EU countries.

“Currently, it is much more a mix of genuine UK and non-UK brands of cigarettes, hand-rolling tobacco, counterfeits, and increasingly, illicit whites.”

Simon Clark, director of Forest – a smokers group – said that it was becoming annoying that smokers were focused on each year when it came to the Budget.

Mr Clark told MailOnline: “Smokers are sick and tired of being targeted every year with above inflation increases in tobacco duty.

“The majority of smokers come from poorer backgrounds.

“Many have suffered financially as a result of the pandemic and should not have to face yet another increase in the cost of tobacco at a time when they can least afford it.”

He continued: “Increasing the rates of tax on tobacco will inevitably encourage illicit trade which hurts legitimate retailers and puts consumers at even greater risk from unregulated and counterfeit tobacco.”

Twitter users have been fuming over the recent rise in tobacco tax.

Mark felt the Government were being “heartless” in their decision.

They tweeted: “Putting the price of cigarettes up, while taking away the £20 Universal Credit.

“This government is truly heartless.”

Express.co.uk readers also echoed the anger felt by Twitter users.

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Frozen rolos wrote: “From a pack of cigarettes over 80 percent goes to the Government.

“Imagine if everything else was taxed so highly.

“So smokers are not a drain on the NHS they’re doing a huge amount of the funding.”

They continued: “Smokers pay such high tax on cigarettes that they should be given their own suite if they need hospital treatment.”

DashDotDash wrote: “Smokers should be praised.

“If they didn’t smoke and pay the tax on cigs, it would have to come from somewhere… that being nonsmokers.”

CHiPs wrote: “No one is beaten up by someone smoking.

“Yet the price of alcohol is going down.

“How much do drunks cost the NHS every year?

“Don’t forget the drink-drive deaths.”

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