Taxpayers are bearing the brunt for smokers according to a new report from the Danish Health Ministry.
According to the latest report from the ministry, smokers accounted for some 149,000 hospital admissions every year, and that those who light up are also responsible for 2.8 million annual sick days as employees.
Bertel Haarder, the Danish health minister, has claimed that cigarette sales generate DKK 6.5 billion (USD 1.1 billion) each year, withmeaning that the state is paying out DKK 3.5 billion (USD 640 million) to prop up the nation’s smokers.
The Social Democrat Party wants stronger action taken by Haarder to address the issue, and has called for further tax increases on tobacco, reports The Copenhagen Post.
“Smokers live on average 10 years less than non-smokers, and it’s strange the government is refusing to raise these taxes when we’re also fighting to increase productivity in the job market,”’ said Nick Haekkerup, the Social Democrat party tax spokesman. “It would certainly be worth it to try to cut down some of those 2.8 million sick days each year”.
The governing Liberal-Conservative coalition raised tobacco taxes by three kroner. However, the Social Democrat party has called for a further 10 kroner tax to be applied.