Experts’ views on how to design a tobacco control fund in the UK


Objective To explore expert views on the potential value, and approaches to establishing and administering a tobacco control fund in the UK.

Design Semistructured interviews and follow-up discussion groups.

Subjects Twenty-four UK and international experts on tobacco control regulation, public health, economics or law from the academic, public, private and third sector.

Methods Participants considered the relative merit of (1) general excise tax on retail tobacco sales; (2) ring-fenced hypothecation of excise taxes on retail tobacco sales; and (3) a direct levy on tobacco manufacturers. Preliminary synthesis of interview findings was deliberated on in two follow-up discussion groups to identify key considerations for policy design.

Result Most experts agreed that a ring-fenced tobacco control fund would be a valuable method of raising predictable and reliable funds from tobacco producers either using either companies’ sales volume or market share as a way to establish the proportion they should pay. Experts predominantly recommended that a fund in the UK should be administered by a government body with devolved nation input and with an independent advisory group. They typically indicated that funding should be allocated yearly with a distribution at local, regional and national levels to support smoking prevention and cessation rather than treatment activities with priority given to measures that tackle smoking-related inequalities.

Conclusion There was overwhelming agreement by experts on the need to establish a tobacco control fund to help meet the proposed government tobacco-free targets to reduce adult smoking prevalence to 5% by 2030 (England) and 2034 (Scotland).

Hilton S, Smith MJ, Buckton CH, et alExperts’ views on how to design a tobacco control fund in the UKBMJ Open 2022;12:e066224. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-066224
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United Kingdom
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