Budget 2020: the rise in cigarette prices will begin at 6 p.m. today, confirms the Chancellor
This will follow a new ban on menthol and flavored cigarettes from May 20 this year as part of plans to end social smoking among young people – here’s what you need to know
Prices for beer, wine and cider have been capped under the Chancellor’s new rules, but cigarette prices will rise almost immediately.
Tobacco tax rates will increase at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, the government confirmed.
Hidden in the fine print of Rishi Sunak’s 2020 budget speech, he revealed that prices would increase by up to 6% across the board.
Tariff rates on all tobacco products will increase by 2% from Wednesday, while the rate on hand-rolled tobacco will increase by 6% this year.
These changes will take effect from 6 p.m. on March 11, 2020.
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This will follow a ban on menthol and flavored cigarettes from May this year as part of plans to reduce social smoking.
Menthol cigarettes will be made illegal in UK stores, along with lean cigarettes and flavored roll-your-own tobacco, from May 20, when the laws come into force.
The ban, stemming from the EU’s new tobacco products laws, is part of an attempt to deter young people from starting to smoke by banning cigarettes with a “characteristic flavor” other than tobacco.
It is understood that these cigarettes encourage social smoking among young people – which the government wants to end.
The plan to phase out flavored cigarettes follows a 10-pack ban in May 2017.
The ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) charity said the latest changes will stop the production and sale of all filters, papers, packaging, capsules or other flavor-containing components in cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco.
It also extends to “technical characteristics” which would allow consumers to modify “the smell, taste or intensity of the smoke” of the product.
Amanda Sandford, from ASH, said that increasing the price of cigarettes and stopping the sale of small packets has made smoking less attractive.
Budget 2020 and your money
She added that a ban on menthol cigarettes could deter more young people from smoking, saying: “It is understandably difficult to inhale smoke and for many the first time they smoke it is disgusting, but people persevere and that’s when they become addicted.
“Menthol cigarettes have been shown to relax the airways and the flavor masks the harshness of the smoke, so young people find it easier to smoke.
“However, it’s an absolute myth that menthol cigarettes are better for you.
“All cigarettes are harmful, and menthol cigarettes are just as dangerous as regular cigarettes.”
We have a complete guide on how the budget will affect your money, here.