Tobacco and alcohol

106. One of the most striking findings highlighted in the paper drafted by Professor Nutt and his colleagues was that fact that, on the basis of their assessment of harm, tobacco and alcohol would be ranked as more harmful than LSD and ecstasy (both Class A drugs).211 The Runciman report also stated that, on the basis of harm, "alcohol would be classed as B bordering on A, while cigarettes would probably be in the borderline between B and C".212 Various memoranda argued that the exclusion of tobacco and alcohol from the classification system was an anomaly. Transform Drug Policy Foundation told us: "It is this omission from the classification system that, perhaps more than any other, truly lays bare its fundamental lack of consistency, reasoning or evidence base" on the grounds that together tobacco and alcohol cause "approximately 40 times the total number of deaths from all illegal drugs combined".213 In our view, it would be unfeasible to expect a penalty-linked classification system to include tobacco and alcohol but there would be merit in including them in a more scientific scale, decoupled from penalties, to give the public a better sense of the relative harms involved.

211 212 213

Draft provided in confidence by Professor Nutt on behalf of the authors.

Runciman Report, para 40

Ev 64

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