Dry January Lasted The Whole Of 2017

The festive period is over and Tuesday January 2nd felt just that little too close to the New Year’s Eve shenanigans to be returning to work.

But as the cogs slowly kick back into gear, and the UK’s economy gradually wakes from its Christmas slumber, social media is awash with misrepresented quotes about leaving ‘wasters’ in 2017, and making 2018 ‘your year’.

Really, life is just one long year, but if people need another night’s sleep before deciding to sort their lives out, then so be it; who are we to judge?!

Gym owners will be rubbing their hands together, sales of smoothie makers will peak for the first time in 12 months and Google searches for liposuction will increase tenfold.

But as those industries boom, the alcohol companies out there will be feeling the post-Christmas ‘pinch’ as the New Year’s resolution of ‘Dry January’ is adopted by a large percentage of the United Kingdom’s population.

Wetherspoons are trying to combat the annual fad with a January price slash sale – students around the country salute you, ‘Spoons.

But as the breweries, pubs and clubs around the UK dig in for January, getting ready for the upturn in February – those Dry January folks have a tendency to then go for a very ‘wet’ February. However, 2018 may well be a bit more of a dry year, rather than January for alcohol companies – and tobacco ones, at that.

Every single month during 2017 alcohol and tobacco sales were down on the previous year – August was the highest, with a drop of over a quarter (26.7%)

The tax that the United Kingdom puts on cigarettes and alcohol is some of the highest in the European Union – No, Brexiters; the EU didn’t force us to do that – and that may well be why sales declined month-by-month in 2017 compared to 2016’s monthly sales.

The tax burden on the most popular packet of cigarettes has more than doubled in just over a decade – 2005 the UK government were taxing £3.77 on the country’s most popular brands, but that number in 2017 is now £7.73.

Perhaps handing over a £20 note for a packet of cigarettes and a glass of wine, and receiving the best part of three shillings and a button back as change, is finally something the UK public is no longer willing to accept?

Or maybe the drive for the United Kingdom – whether you think it is a PR stunt or not – to become smoke-free is starting to have an impact?

We believe we have an important role to play in helping the UK become smoke-free.

“The commitments announced today are practical steps that could accelerate that goal. We recognise that never starting to smoke – or quitting altogether – are always the best option.

“But for those who continue to smoke, there are more alternatives than ever available in the UK.”

Peter Nixon, managing director of Philip Morris in the UK.

Or perhaps we are more health-conscious? Perhaps the millennials that get mocked for eating avocados and wanting experiences instead of the usual nights out, are leading the charge for a healthier UK? In 2010, 26% of 18-24 year olds smoked, but this number dropped to 19% in 2016.

It is a funny old world we live in, when alcohol is attributed to costing society a total of £21bn annually –  £3.5bn costs to the NHS, £11bn in alcohol-related crime costs and £7.3bn in lost productivity – but why wouldn’t you legalise something you can tax and tax some more.

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