Tobacco products could be hit by tariffs of 70% if Britain left the EU, meaning a pack of 20 cigarettes could soar to £12.74.
The risks were flagged up in a report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which stated that almost half of the UK’s tobacco products are imported from the EU. It said that under World Trade Organisation rules, more than £3 could be added on to packs.
However, Mo Razzaq, owner of a Premier in Glasgow and a Councillor for South Lanarkshire, said that tobacco would be subject to price hikes regardless of the referendum’s outcome.
“I’m for staying in the EU,” he said. “But the EU and the domestic government are both anti-smoker; the Government’s already putting as much tax on tobacco as they can.”
Razzaq added that smokers are already getting a raw deal from the Government.
“They’re an easy target,” he explained. “Tobacco can be taxed and taxed, and no one blinks an eye because it’s seen as a health issue. Now the Government is moving onto soft drinks – what’s going to be next, confectionery?
“It doesn’t matter if we’re in the EU or out, we’re still going to see tobacco costs rise.”