37 pence on 20 cigarettes seems a little unfair. Smokers live less long and have very high tax burden. Most of them, except the very lucky ones, don’t live past 70 and so the Government does not have to worry about paying their pensions for 40 + years of economic inactivity, as it does with average non smokers. The question to ask is, would the Government be in financial difficulty if everyone gave up smoking tomorrow? It must by now be making billions a year from people’s smoking habits.
We have a tax system that taxes rich more than poor (putatively). Should it also tax short lived less than long lived? There is an argument to be made that the concept of longevity poverty is just as economically relevant to the debate about medium and long term state spending as financial poverty. People who live less long will not claim pensions after all. This argument need not only apply to smokers, but anyopne with a terminal condition or illness that means they will not be expected to hit the average lifespan expected in this country by some significant margin. Should these people have to shoudler an equal tax burden?