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Why are the UK Government still allowing the sale of cigarettes?

Cigarettes have been smoked by a large number of people since the beginning of the 19th century. Even though they offer absolutely no health benefits the UK government continues to allow the sale of cigarettes and tobacco. 

There have been a few changes over the last few years such as not allowing the sale of packets of 10 cigarettes and the new law coming into play shortly that will outlaw the sale of menthol cigarettes. However, is this really changing anything? People could argue that it could stop people smoking as cigarettes become less affordable due to being forced into purchasing 20 at a time. But others could argue that you can’t put a price on an addiction. People will do what they can to get hold of something they are addicted to, so are the laws they have put in place really helping anyone?

So why are they not outlawed?

Let’s address the question as to why you are reading this article. Tax. The simple answer to the question is that the government collects so much tax for the sale of tobacco products that the health of the British public is just disregarded. In 2019/2020 the UK government collected approximately 8.8 billion pounds from tobacco tax.

Let’s talk numbers

Cigarettes are taxed so much in the UK that British citizens are always shocked when they go to other EU countries and find them less than half of the price. In the UK, 16.5% is charged on tobacco products with the additional 20% VAT charged in addition. A packet of 20 cigarettes retailing at around £8 will be approximately 80% tax. 

British Healthcare

In the UK we are fortunate enough to have the NHS and their healthcare. It is very difficult to estimate how much it costs the NHS to treat smoking related diseases but according to The Telegraph we can estimate that it is around £2-6 Billion per year. 

Yes, the government are earning less and less money each year from the sale of cigarettes, in 2016 it was estimated that they collected around 12.2 billion in tobacco tax, which is significantly more than the 8 Billion in 2020. But as you can see from the costs of the NHS the government still continues to profit from selling cigarettes even though it is still costing the NHS a lot of money. 

What we can do about it. 

It doesn’t look like the UK Government will be outlawing the sale of tobacco for a long time, not until its no longer profitable for them anyway. But, that doesn’t mean we should just lie down and accept the consequences of our health and our empty wallets. 

Vaping is renown for being one of the best ways to help yourself quit smoking (this is probably why the government is not happy about people doing it). It is a lot safer for you than smoking and contains none of the harmful chemicals that are in cigarettes. 

We are here to help.

If you need advice about quitting and want to use vaping as a quitting aid, then don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to talk you through your best options for your needs and your budget. Call us on 07543 676656 or email us at

Alternatively, check out our other blog posts for information for starters and the benefits of vaping.