Standardised packaging can save lives and boost local economies – Public Health England – 6 August 2014
“New Public Health England (PHE) figures reveal the potential benefits that standardised packaging of tobacco products could bring, not only for health, but in savings of around £500 million – providing a real economic boost to the most deprived communities.
The new figures come following recent official data from Australia, where standardised packaging was introduced in December 2012. Data from the Australian Treasury shows a 3.4% fall in tobacco sales by volume in the first year following the introduction of standardised packs. If that was mirrored here, PHE predicts that total savings across England would be around £500 million.
With tobacco a major cause of health inequalities – the greatest harm being suffered by the most disadvantaged – the benefits would be most felt in areas of greater social deprivation; not only reducing the devastating harm caused by smoking and boosting health improvement, but also increasing families’ disposable income – money that could be spent on other things providing a real boost to local economies.
Retailers earn relatively little profit from tobacco sales. On average, only 7 to 9% of the cost of tobacco is retained by the retailer, compared to 20 to 30% for food and drink products. Money saved by customers from reduced spending on tobacco is likely to be spent elsewhere locally and benefit local businesses more.”
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