Think tank discovered that smoking translates into £15 billion due to tax revenues and public budget cuts due to premature deaths
“Taken together, Britain’s public finances would be £22.8 billion worse off if there were no drinking, smoking or obesity,” the Institute of Economic Affairs study quotes.
Latest free market IEA report estimated that the bad habit of smoking costs the government approximatively £4.6 billion, if taking into account treatments, streets cleaning and fire interventions.
On the other hand, the tobacco industry contributes to the economy with £9.5 billion a year, enabling the authorities to save up to £9.8 billion in pensions, health-care and fewer payments to smokers, as a consequence of their lower age expectation.
The IEA think tank pointed the finger at politicians, due to “scapegoating sin taxes” from smokers, drinkers and obese people, summing up £24.7 billion, costs that outweigh public taxes.
“We are constantly being told that people who choose to drink, smoke or eat too much are a burden on the UK taxpayer. This is one reason why we have seen such aggressive hikes in taxes on alcohol, smoking and very soon, a tax on sugar.”
“But the justification for these taxes is based on an illusion. Smokers, drinkers and those who are obese actually provide a net benefit to the public finances, so vilifying them is futile in the quest to make savings for the NHS. A careful consideration of the evidence shows that the popular belief that costs will fall if people live healthier and for longer is false.”
“While it’s good that we now have longer life expectancies, policymakers must now address how we tackle the financial consequences of the ageing population rather than pointing the finger elsewhere.” Christopher Snowdon, manager of lifestyle economics at the IEA concluded.