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An innovative method of internalising the externality of smoking? The introduction of a £10 permit to purchase tobacco products has been proposed in an attempt to increase the cost and inconvenience of buying cigarettes and similar goods.

The ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces which began in England in July 2007 has been touted as a considerable success, contributing to a 7% drop in cigarette sales compared with the year before. But this has not been without unintended consequences, highlighted already on these blog pages. And with approximately one third of imported cigarettes already arriving in the country illegally (at a cost of £2bn per year to the UK Treasury), won’t any attempt to drive up the price of legal tobacco products - and the inconvenience of buying them - simply result in greater demand for smuggled goods?

Perhaps more radical and shocking methods to reduce demand for cigarettes are needed (this link shows some of the campaigns that have been used in various countries.)

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