asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what effect the increased tax on cigarettes, introduced in the May 1974 Budget, has had on the sale of cigarettes, both by weight and by number; and whether there has been any change in the past 12 months in the ratio of plain and filter cigarettes sold.
The tax on tobacco was increased in the March 1974 Budget. Comparison of the available estimated figures for the corresponding periods in 1974 and 1973 shows that in the first quarter of 1974 sales increased 6·1 per cent. by weight and 5·5 per cent. by number, whereas in the second quarter they fell 3·5 per cent. by weight and 2·5 per cent. by number, and in the third quarter fell 4·5 per cent. by weight and 2·2 per cent. by number. Figures for the fourth quarter of 1974 are not yet available.The ratio of plain to filter cigarettes in the first nine months of 1974 was 1:5·4 compared with 1:4·9 during the corresponding period in 1973.