The price of cigarettes should rise to more than £20 a packet to deter people from smoking, a new study has suggested.
Researchers say the current price of £10 for 20 smokes is not high enough to encourage people to quit.
According to a study from the University of Bath, cigarettes are “too affordable” for millions of smokers who can too easily deal with the small price rises.
The study calls for a tax hike on cigarettes and roll-ups with claims that a suitable way of preventing smoking is to see prices rise to £20 by 2020.
The cost of factory-made cigarettes are rising by 2.6 per per annum.
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Cigarette smokers kept 92 per cent of their income after paying for their vice in 2002, falling to 88 per cent in 2014.
Researchers believe a larger price rise will give smokers more incentive to quit and boost their health.
Speaking to The Sun, Dr Rob Branston, from the University of Bath said: “Smokers can currently offset tax rises by adjusting their smoking behaviour so they don’t get a strong enough push to quit the deadly habit.
“Larger tax rises are needed to make smokers realise it is unaffordable.
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“We would suggest that the UK government follow the lead of the Australian government.
“They have announced large yearly price rises up to 2020 which will result in the price in the shops exceeding the equivalent of £20 a packet.
“If the UK follows suit, tobacco will become less affordable and this should push more smokers to give up the deadly habit.
“This will especially be the case if the money raised is used to fund services to support quitting.” T
he heaviest smokers spend four per cent of their income on ready-made cigarettes.
Over 7m people in the UK are believed to be smokers.