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This report examines whether a minimum floor price for tobacco can achieve better policy objectives in Scotland, including public health outcomes. A choice-modelling exercise, with a representative sample of over 1,000 adult smokers in Scotland has been conducted to test the extent to which the price of tobacco influences smoking behaviours.
The findings of this report support a minimum floor price for tobacco as a strategy that could contribute to the aims of the Scottish Government’s Tobacco Control Action Plan. However, the Scottish Government will need to carefully balance minimum prices against tobacco duty policy in the rest of the UK, as well as the potential outflow to illicit sources, which could increase substantially under all scenarios which we have modelled.
The findings of this report support a minimum floor price for tobacco as a strategy to reduce the affordability of tobacco products and increase smoking cessation rates. However, while increasing prices would appear to be the obvious solution, the Scottish Government will need to carefully balance minimum prices against tobacco duty policy in rest of the UK, as well as the potential outflow to illicit sources, which are likely to increase substantially.
The introduction of a modest minimum floor price, set at the common entry level price (i.e. the lowest price product), would ensure the existing Minimum Excise Tax policy becomes effective again by preventing those tobacco companies, that choose to, from absorbing tax increases to keep their lowest priced brands affordable.
Should the Scottish Government decide to implement this policy it is recommended that adequate funding for other measures to reduce smoking prevalence are made available. These should include:
• Access to gold standard stop smoking services
• Mass media campaigns that promote smoking cessation and available support70
• Increased investment in coordinated enforcement to tackle the illicit supply of tobacco.
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