Smokers fume as rise in 'sin' tax adds 37p a packet


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Indy Politics

So-called "sin taxes" have gone up sharply, leaving smokers and drinkers digging deeper to pay for the vices that Charles Dickens called "fog and grog".

To the anger of tobacco companies and pleasure of health campaigners, the price of cigarettes rose by 5 per cent above inflation, adding 37p to a pack of 20.

Alcohol duty rose by the planned 2 per cent above inflation, adding 3p tyo the cost of a pint of beer, 11p on a bottle of wine and 41p on a 70cl bottle of whisky, gin or vodka.

Simon Clark, director of the pro-smoking group Forest, had expected a smaller rise in tobacco duty. He said: "This is a smugglers' charter."

Deborah Arnott, chief executive at Action on Smoking and Health, said raising the price of tobacco through taxation was the most effective way of encouraging smokers who wanted to quit to take the first step towards kicking the habit.

Drinks groups condemned the continuance of the alcohol duty escalator, which annually raises the price of drinks by 2 per cent above inflation. The Wine and Spirit Trade Association said alcohol tax in the UK was now "so out of step" with its EU neighbours.