Smoking Is Good For Us

Today we learn that smokers are a net benefit to the UK economy to the tune of £14.7 billion per year. A report into ‘sin taxes’ by the Institute of Economic Affairs examines the net effect of smoking on the taxpayer. It finds:

“In the absence of smoking, the government would spend an extra £9.8 billion annually in pension, healthcare and other benefit payments (less taxes forgone). Duty paid on tobacco products is £9.5 billion a year. In total, the gross financial benefit to the government from smoking therefore amounts to £19.3 billion. Subtracting the £4.6 billion of costs produces an overall net benefit of £14.7 billion per annum.”

Tell that to the next healthy living campaigner who piously tells you smokers are a drain on the NHS…

The report is one in a series looking at Britain’s ‘sin taxes’. The studies conclude:

“Taken together, Britain’s public finances would be £22.8 billion worse off if there were no drinking, smoking or obesity.”

The public cost argument is often used to justify government meddling in people’s lifestyle choices. In fact, as this study shows, blaming smokers, drinkers and fast-food-lovers for spiralling healthcare costs is just a moral fable employed in an effort to control behaviour rather than to actually save money. Freedom of choice is not only right morally, it makes fiscal sense…




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