Promotion of cheap tobacco and alcohol runs counter to the government's stated objective of preventing ill health and reducing inequalities

Health Foundation response to the Chancellor's announcement of return of EU duty-free

11 September 2019

Responding to the announcement from the Chancellor and HM Treasury, Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive at the Health Foundation said:

'The promotion of cheap alcohol and tobacco by the Treasury is at best ironic given that reducing alcohol consumption and smoking is a central plank of government health policy – tobacco use remains the leading cause of death in the UK. The promotion of tobacco and alcohol in this way runs counter to the government’s stated objective of preventing ill health and reducing inequalities.

'The implied notion that a no-deal Brexit is in the offing, and its promotion to the public through advertising cheap duty-free goods, surely runs counter to the responsibility of civil servants to be politically impartial, especially at a time when a general election may be imminent.

'As we understand, government policy is to leave the EU on 31 October, preferably with a deal but having prepared to mitigate the worst effects of no-deal if not. There is therefore no justification to promote no-deal and its dubious benefits in this way, unless of course government policy has changed.'

Media contact

Simon Perry
020 7257 2093

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