Health experts cheer the UK’s approach on tobacco taxation

Stockholm, 1st December Leading health advocates have commended the UK’s progressive approach to taxing less harmful alternatives such as e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches in the Autumn Statement.

Last week, the UK government announced tobacco duty hikes, applying the ‘tobacco duty escalator’ to raise rates by 2% above RPI inflation and an extra 10% for hand-rolling tobacco, totaling 12%. 

Notably, taxes on less harmful products like e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches stay the same, a vital move to support public health by encouraging the use of safer alternatives for smokers.

This decision, crucially, respects a risk-proportional taxation system and aligns with recommendations from international health experts.

Dr Delon Human, the leader of the Smoke Free Sweden movement, stated:

The UK’s decision is a commendable step towards a more nuanced and effective public health policy. In not increasing taxes on reduced-risk products, the UK government is acknowledging the importance of providing accessible alternatives for adult smokers to help them take the step of quitting. This approach is very much in line with the strategies in Sweden, which is on the brink of declaring itself officially smoke free.

The UK’s decision will encourage smokers to switch to less harmful options. 

Earlier this year, Sweden proposed a 20% tax reduction for snus, a smokeless tobacco product that is significantly less harmful than cigarettes. The affordability of alternative products has been a key driver in reducing smoking prevalence.

Dr. Human adds, “This is an example of how countries can balance fiscal responsibilities with public health goals. The UK’s approach to taxation, much like Sweden’s, exemplifies a pragmatic and evidence-based stance on tobacco harm reduction.


For more information on Sweden’s successful approach to becoming a smoke-free nation and progressive tobacco policies, please visit

Media contact: Smoke Free Sweden

Jessica Perkins