Leading tobacco policy experts gathered at the Academy of Medical Sciences in London for a three-day workshop hosted by the SPECTRUM Consortium, entitled “Nicotine & tobacco: Current Issues, Policy and Practice”.

Dr Duncan Gillespie, a Senior Research Fellow with the Sheffield Addictions Research Group, gave a talk on “Tobacco and new nicotine product pricing policy: past, present and future,” exploring the potential impact of various pricing strategies on tobacco use and public health.

Dr Gillespie’s presentation examined different pricing mechanisms, including tax escalators, minimum pricing, and policies specific to new nicotine products. He highlighted the increased options available for policymakers after Brexit, but also emphasised the crucial trade-off between encouraging people to quit and potentially increasing costs for low-income groups.

Key takeaways from the presentation included:

  • Diverse pricing options exist: Brexit provides more flexibility for the UK to implement various pricing strategies.
  • Balancing health and equity: Raising prices can incentivise quitting, but may disproportionately impact low-income individuals.
  • Understanding context: New policies need to consider how they interact with existing regulations and emerging trends.
  • Local and national impacts: Both local and national effects of pricing policies must be considered for comprehensive understanding.
  • Modelling needed: Modelling can help predict the balance of outcomes between improved health, economic impact, societal inequalities, and government revenue.

The SPECTRUM Consortium is a research group focused on reducing health inequalities caused by unhealthy commodities like tobacco, alcohol, and unhealthy food and drinks. Their research aims to inform policy and practice changes that encourage healthier behaviours and environments.

The workshop took place from 30 January – 1 February 2024 and brought together 35 academics and policy practitioners from across the UK to discuss current and emerging issues in nicotine and tobacco. Professor Alan Brennan, Dr Damon Morris and Dr Luke Wilson from Sheffield Addictions Research Group also attended the event.

Photo credit: SPECTRUM Consortium

Further information

The SPECTRUM Consortium – a multi-university, multi-agency research consortium focused on the commercial determinants of health and health inequalities funded by the UK Prevention Research Partnership. Our STAPM platform is being used to develop new economic and health impact evidence, modelling and analysis.

SYNTAX – “Integrated evidence synthesis for joint appraisal of tobacco and alcohol tax interventions for harm reduction in the UK”. This project provided evidence and tools to inform the potential scale of effects of taxation across tobacco and alcohol as an intervention to improve public health and reduce health inequalities in the UK.