Facts & Figures

UK tobacco market summary

Expenditure & revenue

  • Consumer spending on tobacco products in 2010 amounted to an estimated £14 billion, around 90% of this on cigarettes.
  • Tax revenue from tobacco in 2011/12 amounted to £12.1 billion – £9.5 billion in excise duty plus £2.6 billion in VAT.
  • The total tax burden (excise duty plus VAT) accounts for 88% of the price of the cheapest cigarettes on sale in the UK.

Smuggling & crossborder shopping

  • Owing to the high level of tobacco taxation the UK experiences a high level of smuggling and crossborder shopping in tobacco products – referred to as non-UK duty paid (NUKDP) consumption. HM Revenue & Customs estimate that in 2009/10 up to 22% of cigarette and 56% of handrolling tobacco consumption was NUKDP.
  • We believe that the majority of NUKDP consumption comes from other EU Member States where taxes, and therefore prices, in many countries are much lower. For example, a typical pack of 20 cigarettes costs £7.47 in the UK and around £3.50 in Spain.
  • Results from industry ‘pack swaps’ and pack collections show that the level of NUKDP has fallen in 2009 & 2010. We believe that this reduction is largely due to the impact of the recession (fall in travel / weak Pound) on crossborder shopping.
  • As a result of recent VAT increases and the re-introduction of the duty escalator cigarette taxation has increased by 20% since 1 January 2010.
  • There is widespread concern that these tax increases will lead to an increase in illicit tobacco consumption.
  • Genuine UK brands accounted for only 6% of all the large-scale seizures made by HMRC in 2009/10, with 49 per cent being counterfeit and genuine non-UK and/or ‘Illicit whites’ accounting for 46%.
  • HM Revenue & Customs estimate that in 2009/10 NUKDP consumption lost them revenue of between £1.6 and £3.6 billion.

Smoking prevalence

  • The latest figures (2010) from the Government’s General Lifestyle Survey show that 20% of the adult population (16+) in Great Britain were cigarette/handrolling tobacco smokers – although the report does note that this is likely to be an understatement. This equates to around 10.5 million smokers – 8.8 million in England. Northern Ireland’s Continuous Household Survey shows that 23% of adults (16+) were cigarette/handrolling tobacco smokers – around 340,000 people.


  • TMA member companies directly employ over 5700 people in the UK.

A 2004 study by DTZ Pieda estimated a further 80,000 jobs among suppliers and in wholesale, distribution and retailing were dependent on the UK tobacco industry.