FAGS should rise to more than £20 a packet to deter people from smoking, a study suggests.
Researchers say the current price of £10 for 20 smokes is not high enough to encourage people to quit.
Alamy Boffins want pack of fags to cost £20 by 2020 as it’s ‘too affordable’ now
They claim the habit remains “too affordable” for millions of smokers who can too easily absorb small price rises.
The University of Bath boffins want a huge tax hike on cigarettes and roll-ups.
And they suggest more than doubling the price by 2020 if it is to have a significant effect.
Their call comes after they probed the historical prices of tobacco and its affordability.
AFP The experts claim the habit remains ‘too affordable’ for millions of smokers
They found the cost of factory-made ciggies are rising by 2.6 per cent a year.
Cigarette smokers kept 92 per cent of their income after paying for their vice in 2002, falling to 88 per cent in 2014.
But many addicts continued to puff away by simply giving up other things they valued less highly.
Now the researchers say a larger price rise will give them more incentive to quit and boost their health.
EPA The Government is said to be considering a tax on e-cigs
Dr Rob Branston, from UoB, said: “Smokers can currently offset tax rises by adjusting their smoking behaviour so they don’t get a strong enough push to quit the deadly habit.
“Larger tax rises are needed to make smokers realise it is unaffordable.
“We would suggest that the UK government follow the lead of the Australian government.
“They have announced large yearly price rises up to 2020 which will result in the price in the shops exceeding the equivalent of £20 a packet.
“If the UK follows suit, tobacco will become less affordable and this should push more smokers to give up the deadly habit.
“This will especially be the case if the money raised is used to fund services to support quitting.” The heaviest smokers spend four per cent of their income on ready-made cigarettes.
This was equivalent to around £1,000 in 2014, the latest year studied.
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