Cigarettes to go up by 20p

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The Independent Online
A HEALTH Minister gave the clearest signal yet yesterday that the Chancellor intends to raise the duty on cigarettes by about 20p for a packet of 20 in Tuesday's Budget.

Unveiling an anti-smoking campaign aimed at young women, Tessa Jowell rejectedcalls by John Carlisle, the former Tory MP and spokesman for the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association (TMA), to cut the duty to reduce smuggling of cigarettes from the Continent.

The Public Health minister made clear that she believed pricing cigarettes out of reach of young smokers was a vital weapon in the Government's drive to reduce smoking- related illnesses.

"The Chancellor has had a policy of raising duty on tobacco in the last two Budgets. He has introduced 5 per cent increases against the 3 per cent increases by the last government. We do this for the important reason that there is a clear link between the price of tobacco and levels of consumption."

Adding a further 20p to a packet of 20 will push up the average price of a pack of cigarettes to about pounds 3.64.

Posters showing cigarettes stubbed out in tubs of cosmetics are being used by the Government to persuade teenage girls and young women that cigarettes can damage their looks.

The campaign marks a shift of style from past efforts, which warned of the health risks of smoking.Research has convinced ministers that the way to reach young women is to warn them that smoking to stay thin also leaves them with bad breath and a spotty complexion.

"The posters are directed at 16 to 24-year-olds. They have been carefully tested, and we recognise that if you want to get young women in this age group to give up smoking or not to start, it is less effective to deliver the sort of long-term shock-horror threat than to say smoking is bad for your looks," said Ms Jowell.

The Government set out a tough target in its smoking White Paper, Smoking Kills, in December to reduce smoking among children from 13 per cent to 9 per cent by 2010.