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Tobacco Industry in the United Kingdom Report (Assessment)


The focus of the project is on the UK tobacco industry. The research will be done on the aim of the UK tobacco industry. The advantage and disadvantages of tobacco will be explored. Also, the impact of solutions from the government on reducing smoker. Moreover, arguments will be made based on academic references to decide if it is beneficial for the UK to ban the tobacco industry.


When talking about tobacco, there is a lot of research about the tobacco industry but almost talking about tobacco harm. The question is why tobacco still exists while smokers could be killed. Even the governments around the world and many societies try to bring many solutions for smoker reduction. That is why the tobacco industry different from other products. However, the only country in the world is Bhutan that completely bans the sale and production of tobacco and tobacco products (BBC, 2004).

The UK tobacco market recorded relatively weak growth across 2009-2013 (MarketLine, 2014). According to the telegraph, there are 10.3 million smokers in Britain and around 20 percent of the adult population. In addition, 5000 people are employed by tobacco companies in the UK, while 80000 jobs depend on tobacco (Telegraph, 2011).

In 2012, consumer spending on tobacco products amounted to an estimated £15.1 billion. The tax revenue from tobacco in 2012/2013 amounted to £12.3 billion (UK tobacco market summary, 2014). There are a lot of arguments for and against the tobacco industry. The tobacco industry, as an employer, is naturally keen to emphasize its role in providing jobs to the UK economy (Sutton, 1995). On the other hand, Frank and Kenneth (2000) state that while the tobacco industry ranks among the most substantial and successful of economic enterprises, tobacco consumption is associated with more deaths than any other product.

Thus, the project is going to investigating the issue of why the tobacco industry still survives in the UK even it is the cause of cancer, and it kills more people than alcohol, AIDS each year. Furthermore, the project gathers and groups all information together in order to give an objective opinion on the issue. The investigation based on different viewpoints and case studies.

Research questions

The main research question is, ‘Should the UK tobacco industry be banned?’ There are further two sub questions to this topic. The first one is causing the tobacco industry to remain regardless of its bad impacts. It refers to the advantage and disadvantages of the tobacco industry. It also refers to different opinions and viewpoints from academics in favor of and against in the tobacco industry. The last sub question is the discussion on whether there is a chance that tobacco will be banned in the UK.After discussing the advantage and disadvantages of tobacco in general, the focus will be on the current solution of the UK government for reducing smokers and whether tobacco is banned in the UK in the future.

Literature review


Tobacco is a green, leafy plant that is grown in warm climates (Healthliteracy, 2015). Tobacco smoke contains over 7000 chemical compounds, present as either gas or as tiny particles. These include carbon monoxide, arsenic, formaldehyde, cyanide, benzene, toluene, and acrolein (ASH, 2015). Tobacco products include cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, snuff and chewing tobacco. (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products, 2015). Nicotine is one of the more than 7000 chemicals in cigarettes when burned with 69 known cancer-causing compounds and 400 other toxins (INNES, 2014). The addictive effects of nicotine ids one of the reason why smokers smoke in large part. Nicotine affects mood and performance and has been clearly implicated as the source of addition to tobacco (NL, 1992).

The aim of the project is to discuss the advantage and disadvantage of tobacco in economic, health and moral aspects. Moreover, the article will focus on the current tobacco industry in the UK. Commends on whether tobacco is still beneficial to the country in general will be discussed.


Even the tobacco industry brings few positive economic impacts for UK but it also created cost for UK’s economy. The first one is it contribute the tax revenue to government. According to Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association (2014), taxation is almost equivalent to 16 cigarettes in a pack of 20. Tax revenue from tobacco in 2012/13 amounted to £12.3 billion and excise duty was £9.7 billion plus £2.6 billion in VAT. A cost-benefit analysis in the UK showed that a 5% tobacco tax increase over the rate of inflation would increase government tax revenues by over £521 million a year and result in wider economic benefits of over £ 305 million per year in the first five years of the policy (Reed, 2010)

The tobacco industry provide jobs for people so the number of unemployed is decreased. British American Tobacco – one of the leading tobacco company in the UK, buying in more than 400000 tonnes of tobacco from over 100000 contracted farmers and third party supplier around the globe (Sustainable agriculture and farmer livelihoods, 2015). The bottom line is that there are farmers who would be affected if global and/or national demand were to fall.

However, there are many other commodities whose prices have been buffeted much more by global demand and supply trends and there is no reason to treat tobacco as a special case. And there are factors besides tobacco control that affect tobacco prices and profitability (The Economics of Tobacco Use & Tobacco Control in the Developing World, 2003). According to Cogent (2014), the tobacco industry directly supports over 6100 people in high value jobs.

In addition, the tobacco industry indirectly supports around 53000 jobs elsewhere in the economy- 20000 in the supply chain, 33000 in distribution and retail. However, a fall in tobacco consumption that leads cigarette manufacturers, retailers and distributors to cut some jobs does not necessarily cause a fall in total employment. Money no longer spent on cigarettes will be spent instead on other goods and services, generating new jobs to replace those lost from the tobacco industry. In fact, depending on the new pattern of consumption, more jobs could be created than lost (The Economics of Tobacco Use & Tobacco Control in the Developing World, 2003).

When resources are no longer devoted (at all or as much) to a given economic activity, they do not simply disappear into thin air—the implication of the industry’s argument. Rather, they are redirected to other economic functions. If a person ceases to smoke, for example, the money that individual would have spent on cigarettes does not evaporate. Rather, the person spends it on something else. The new spending will generate employment in other industries, just as the spending on cigarettes generated employment in the tobacco industry (Warner, 2000).

The Treasury received £9.5 billion in revenue from tobacco duties in the financial year 2013/2014 (excluding VAT) (Tobacco Bulletin, 2015).This amounts to about 2% of total Government revenue. A cost benefit analysis of the effects of increasing tobacco taxation commissioned by ASH found that a tobacco price rise of 5% would result in net benefits to the economy as a whole of around £10.2 billion over 50 years (Reed, 2010)

Parrott and Godfrey (2004) states that smoking create cost of absenteeism and the UK’s economy is affected. Absenteeism arising from smoking related disease is also a major cause of lost productivity, a cost incurred by employers. An annual estimated 34 million days are lost in England and Wales through sickness absence resulting from smoking related illness, and in Scotland the cost of this productivity loss is about £400 million. According to ASH (2015), a 20-a-day smoker of a premium cigarette brand will spend about £3,000 a year on cigarettes. Moreover, total cost to society (in England) is approximately £13.9 billion a year. This includes the cost to the NHS of treating diseases caused by smoking in England which is approximately £2 billion a year (ASH Ready Reckoner, 2015).

Besides tax contribution to the government, tobacco industry also support decreased the number of unemployed as well. However, tobacco is not actual bring the benefit to economy. The cost of NHS and other cost are created by tobacco.


From the standpoint of health, there are a lot of studies describing the negative effect of smoking. Meanwhile, some researchers have recently managed to prove the positive impact tobacco has on health as well.

From the perspective of the positive effect that smoking has on human health, scientists typically point out three tendencies. First, and foremost, smokers are said to be less likely to acquire osteoarthritis (OA). It is one of the most common chronic diseases among older adults, and it is the leading indication for total joint replacement (TJR). The interconnection between smoking and OA is determined by the causes of this disease.

Thus, the most common causes include older age, female sex, and obesity. The statistic also shows that knee-replacement surgery is more common among joggers and the obese. In the meantime, according to scientific evaluations, the majority of smokers jog rarely, and they are less likely to be morbidly obese. As a result, men who smoke have less risks of undergoing TJR surgery of the hip or knee than non-smokers (George Mnatzaganian, 2011).

Another disease that smokers have fewer chances to acquire is ulcerative colitis. It is a serious bowel disease in which the inner lining of the colon and rectum becomes inflamed and permanently damaged (Medicine, 2010). Whatever paradoxical it might seem, scientists claim that current smokers have a lower risk of developing ulcerative colitis, compared to non-smokers and ex-smokers (Philippe De Saussure, 2007).

Moreover, according to the US Surgeon General, the medical evidence suggests that this protective relationship may be causal. In other words, it is claimed that the more cigarettes one consumes, the fewer chances he or she has to get ulcerative colitis (The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress, 2014). The relevant phenomenon is explained by the quality of the components tobacco contains – nicotine is thought to affect the course of the disease favourably (Birrenbach T, 2004).

In the meantime, smokers have a greater risk of developing Crohn’s disease, another inflammatory disease of the bowel. Therefore, due to the devastating effects of tobacco use, smoking is not recommended to be used as the treatment for ulcerative colitis, even though one research study has canvassed this as an extreme possibility for ex-smokers with steroid-dependent and resistant ulcerative colitis (Mario Cottone, 2011).

Finally, numerous studies have identified the striking inverse relationship between smoking and Parkinson’s disease. Thus, long-term smokers are, to a certain extent, protected against Parkinson’s.

Despite the wide-spread assumption that this is because they tend to die earlier of other diseases, scientists have a different reasoning. Hence, Harvard researchers were among the first to provide convincing evidence that smokers are less likely to develop Parkinson’s. In a study published in Neurology in March 2007, these researchers found the protective effect that tobacco assures. As a result, they came to a conclusion that the risk of getting Parkinson disease, among current and former smokers, varies depending on the duration and the intensity of smoking, although, in general, it remains relatively low, contrary to the risks among non-smokers (Thacker, 2007).

Another recent study published in a March 2010 issue of the journal Neurology provided some critical clarifications. Instead of trying to determine the nature of this effect, the researchers focused on the mechanisms of this protection. As a result, they found that the strength of the protective effect is essentially interconnected with the number of consumed cigarettes – the larger the number is, the stronger protection is guaranteed (Chen, 2010)

In contrast, there are a lot of research about health consequence of smoking and the evidence provided that smoking is the reason of people dying. There are about 1-2 billion smokers in the world, half of whom die from diseases caused by smoking. Smoking causes 5 million deaths per year and if present trends continue, 10 million smokers per year are projected to die by 2025 (Hayashi, 2012). Death, cancer, diseases are all health consequence of smoking including.

However, there is of problem that many studies believe is lung cancer as smoking consequence. According to Cancer Research UK (2013), the biggest cancer killer in UK is lung cancer and it kills almost 35000 people each year (Lung cancer statistics, 2013). Recent article (Cornfield, 2009) state that when an investigation set up to test the theory, suggested by evidence previously obtained, that smoking causes lung cancer, turns out to indicate that smoking causes or provokes a whole gamut of diseases, inevitably it raises the suspicion that something is amiss. Hecht (2002) believes that carcinogens form the link between nicotine addiction and lung cancer.

In addition, Nicotine is the reason people continue to smoke despite the well-known adverse effects on health. Moreover, Cigar and/or pipe smoking was found to be strongly associated with cancers of the lung and upper aerodigestive tract, including the oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, larynx and oesophagus. In all studies, the risk increased with amount and duration of smoking and was higher in smokers who inhale compared to smokers who do not (Sasco, 2004).

In addition, Lifelong non-smoking spouses of smokers who smoke at home had a significant and consistent 20–30% increase in lung cancer risk. According to recently study, cigarette smoking is a strong risk factor for head and neck cancer (Mia Hashibe, 2007). Even in men and women smoking 1–4 cigarettes per day, there was a distinct increase in risk of death from ischaemic heart disease and from all causes (Bjartveit, 2005).

Smoking not only affect to the active smoking, the non-smoker and children also be affected. Passive smoke, also known as environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) or second-hand smoke (SHS), is the combination of side-stream smoke, i.e. smoke that is emitted between puffs of burning tobacco (cigarettes, pipes or cigars), and mainstream smoke, i.e. smoke that is exhaled by the smoker (NCI, 1999). Environmental tobacco smoke and “passive smoking”, was “the most dangerous threat to the viability of the tobacco industry that has yet occurred” (Ong, 2000). Because SHS contains essentially the same carcinogens as mainstream smoke, albeit at different concentrations (Smith, 2003).

SHS could induce genotoxic and epigenetic effects similar to those already established for mainstream smoke (Besaratinia, 2008).Health effects associated with exposure to SHS have been well documented and include lung cancer, lower respiratory tract infections, asthma, cardiovascular disease, eye and nasal irritation and low birth weight in babies of non-smokers (SCOTH, 2004). Chan-Yeung & Dimich-Ward (2003) believed that ETS exposure at home and in the workplace is associated with an increased risk of respiratory symptoms and lung cancer in non-smokers in most studies. For adults working in the hospitality industry, there is a greater potential for relatively heavy exposure to ETS. (Chan‐Yeung, 2003).

Moreover, the SHS increases the risk of coronary heart disease by approximately 30% and this effect is larger than one would expect on the basis of the risks associated with active smoking (Barnoya, 2005). A recently study agreed that passive smoking could significantly increase the risk of eleven diseases, especially invasive meningococcal dis-ease in children, cervical cancer, Neisseria meningitidis carriage, and Streptococcus pneumoniae carriage.

It also shows that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke could increase the risk of lung cancer and cervical cancer (Cao, 2015).Passive smoking also increased the likelihood of experiencing respiratory symptoms and was also related to increase bronchial responsiveness (Janson, 2001). The result of recently study shows that 1 hour of moderate SHS exposure generates significant decrements on lung function and marked increases in the vast majority of the cytokines investigated. More important, whereas most SHS-induced effects on lung function appear to recede within 60 minutes, inflammatory cytokines remain elevated for at least 3 hours after exposure (Flouris, 2009).

Over 800 children visit their doctor every day due to the serious effects of second-hand smoke exposure, according to research published by the Royal College of Physicians (Children’s health up in smoke, 2013). In addition, second-hand smoke has been linked to around 165,000 new cases of disease among children in the UK each year (Passive smoking, 2015). Infants have a higher risk of Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) if they are exposed to second-hand smoke.

Children have a higher risk of serious health problems, or problems may become worse. Children who breathe second-hand smoke can have more: ear infections; coughs and colds; respiratory problems such as bronchitis and pneumonia; tooth decay. Moreover, Children who grow up with parents who smoke are themselves more likely to smoke. Children and teens who smoke are affected by the same health problems that affect adults. Second-hand smoke may cause problems for children later in life including: Poor lung development (meaning that their lungs never grow to their full potential); Lung cancer; Heart disease; Cataracts (an eye disease) (Healthy Children, 2015).

Chan-Yeung and Dimich-ward strongly agreed that SHS exposure effects to lung function on children. Following by lower respiratory tract illnesses in early childhood and sudden Infant Death Syndrome (Chan‐Yeung, 2003). Exposure to ETS during infancy is a major risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) found by Hofhuis, De Jongste & Merkus(2003). A systematic review concluded that after adjusting for confounders, such as sleeping position and economic status, maternal smoking doubles the risk for SIDS (Anderson, 1997).

Moreover, middle ear disease and adenotonsillectomy in children, lung function, wheezing and asthma, allergic are all disease that children might be suffered by SHS exposure (Hofhuis, 2003). It appears that passive smoking could increase the risk of some diseases among children, especially bacterial infections (Cao, 2015). A recently study shows that second-hand smoke poses a substantial health risk and disease burden for children and adult non-smokers worldwide (Öberg, 2011).

ETS exposure not only effect to children, it also effect to infants of women who smoke during pregnancy. Infants of women who smoke during pregnancy are estimated to have twice the risk of low birth weight or preterm delivery (Windham, 2000). Even before pregnancy, cigarette smoking is of influence since it is dose dependently associated with a decrease in fertility (RL, 2001). Even in non-smoking pregnant women, high exposure to ETS is associated with an increased risk for preterm birth (Jaakkola JJ, 2001). Pregnant women who are exposed to second-hand smoke are estimated to be 23% more likely to experience stillbirth and 13% more likely give birth to a child with a congenital malformation (Law K. L., 2003). In recent study also agreed that ETS exposure in pregnant women was significantly associated with a higher risk of small-for-gestation birth (P Goel, 2004).

Discussion whether tobacco is banned in the UK in the future

The fact that tobacco is still not banned in the UK signifies that it has ambiguous outcomes for the national economy. A careful study of this problem has shown that tobacco industry brings to the UK both advantages and disadvantages; therefore, it is particularly problematic to evaluate the chances of its potential banning.

However, the fact that tobacco is the cause of killing people is undoubted. As a result, it seems that the UK government tries to reduce the number of smokers by introducing numerous solutions and bans instead of banning the tobacco itself. Thus, for example, the UK government has tried to increase the tax for reducing the number of smokers since 1993. In 1993, the UK government introduced a 3% above inflation, the so-called ‘duty escalator’ on tobacco products then rising it up to 5% from 1997.

The duty escalator cigarette taxation was increased by 85% between 1993- 2000. Nevertheless, the measure did not prove to have an expected effect. Instead of reducing the number of consumed cigarettes, smokers took advantage of cheap smuggled and cross border shopped tobacco products. Hence, between 1993- 2000 the level of non-UK duty paid cigarette consumption increased from 3.5 stocks to 25 billion sticks, Therefore by 2000, around 1 in 3 cigarettes consumed was not UK tax paid and at the same time around 80% of hand rolling tobacco also avoided UK duty (TMA, 2013).

In the meantime, the described outcome does not mean that the UK government’s solution was initially apt to fail. Practice shows that the relevant measure is often efficient and assistive in reducing the cigarette consumption around the country. Thus, for instance, it is estimated that a tripling of excise tax on tobacco in most low- and middle-income countries would double cigarette prices, reducing consumption by about 40% (Jha, 2015). Therefore, there are grounds for believing that at least during the short and medium term, reducing tobacco consumption by raising tobacco excise taxes will increase government revenues at the same time that it diminishes the disease burden associated with tobacco use (Warner, 2000).

Another step to tobacco banning was done when the UK government introduced a ban on the relevant advertising. Hence, most conspicuous forms of tobacco advertising and promotion in the UK were banned for the customer awake the health consequence of tobacco consumption. Tobacco comprehensive advertising bans in which tobacco promotion is typically banned from print media, radio, television, billboards, and other locations (Paynter, 2009).

From the marketing standpoint, this measure is likely to be productive as eliminating the promotion activities will significantly reduce the tobacco industry’s chances of attracting new customers. Based on evidence from other countries, the Government conservatively estimated that the tobacco advertising ban would result in a 2.5% fall in consumption and save 3,000 lives a year in the long term (Tobacco advertising and promotion regulations: Consultation document, 2002).

Alternatively, the tobacco companies have to design warning label on some tobacco products. A recent study revealed that plain cigarette packaging may influence adolescents’ smoking behaviour by reducing its image and associated social appeal (McCool, 2012).

Hammond and Parkinson (2009) indicated that characteristics of package design such as colours and product descriptors convey information to consumers about product characteristics and health risks. The government also make some tobacco regulation. For example, protection of children by not selling tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18 or smoking in virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces is prohibited by law throughout the United Kingdom.

There are a few exemptions to the law. These include guest bedrooms in hotels and certain rooms in care homes, hospices and prisons (ASH, Tobacco regulation, 2015).

It is critical to realize the extent of the financial losses the country will have to bear in case it imposes a complete ban on the tobacco industry. Therefore, it is not surprising that the government has to accept a compromise. History shows that the UK government has tried to reduce the number of smokers many times employing various ways and solutions. However, banning tobacco is still a question. In the positive side, tobacco contribute a lot of money for the government. In the other side, tobacco created expenditure by health cost and other health risk. The fact that tobacco is still sold signifies that the negative side does not yet overweigh the positive from the economic perspective.


A careful analysis of the tobacco problem has shown that a tobacco ban is one of the most ambiguous questions as it implies critical economic contradictions and an ethical dilemma.

It is problematic to evaluate the chances of a complete tobacco ban in the UK, although it is possible to summarize the key reasons for each of the decisions. It should be initially noted that the UK government has already implemented a series of measures aimed at reducing the number of consumed cigarettes in the population: the advertisement ban and the changes imposed on the label design.

Meanwhile, the study has shown that there are sustainable grounds for avoiding a complete ban on the tobacco industry. First and foremost, it creates a considerable number of workplaces for the UK residents. In case the government imposes the relevant ban, it will essentially face the problem of eliminating unemployment. In addition, practice shows that the simplest measures do not bring the expected results – tax raising leads to the growth of the demand for the foreign cigarettes.

As a result, the government bears financial losses whereas the number of smokers remains high. Finally, modern medicine has recently made a shift for carrying out research on the positive effects that smoking has on consumers’ health. Thus, for example, a recent study has shown that nicotine serves to be a strong resistant to Parkinson so that smokers are more consistently protected from this disease than non-smokers. Such radical changes in the rhetoric of the health care representatives might signify a gradual change in the social attitude towards smoking reducing the chances for its ban.

On the other hand, tobacco industry brings a lot of problems to the UK government including those of the economic character. Hence, the fact that smoking-related diseases such as, for instance, absenteeism cause considerable problems, from the work and economic perspectives, is undoubted. Thus, smokers require additional medical help, show less productivity due to some smoking-related illnesses, and, to a greater or lesser extent, become a burden to the government.

Moreover, the government experiences strong pressure on the part of non-smokers. As long as the negative effect of passive smoking has been proved, non-smokers have been particularly insistent in terms of implementing a ban on tobacco. Therefore, by doing so, the government is likely to please a significant part of the population. Lastly, it is assumed that financial losses will turn out to be less dramatic than one might predict – the money spent on tobacco are likely to be relocated to other economic sectors. In other words, consumers will surely find a new product to replace tobacco so that their spending will still go to the national budget.

Thus, on the face of it, the tobacco industry should be completely banned. The negative impact on consumers’ health is scientifically proved, and the mortality rate due to smoking looks appalling. Therefore, from the moral and ethical perspectives, the government is supposed to impose a strict ban on this product regardless of all the other outcomes. Nevertheless, from the economic standpoint, tobacco question is rather contradictory that does not allow taking any peremptory decisions.


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