Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
The campaign theme for the WHO/UN World No Tobacco day is: Raise Taxes!
There is plenty of evidence that this public health strategy works. For example, California Proposition 99 Tobacco tax increase (voted in 1988), and the overwhelming defeat in 2000 of Proposition 28 Repeal of “first five” cigarette taxes, in conjunction with other public health measures was estimated in 2004 to have reduced the burden of the California state healthcare system by 86 billion dollars in reduced incidence of lung cancer and heart disease [Glantz and Balbach, 2000]
And for anyone with doubts about government tobacco interventions, The World Bank has also conducted research concerning the myths surrounding tobacco control, and for example, the following myths in particular [World Bank]:
1. Governments will lose revenues if they increase cigarette taxes, because people will buy fewer cigarettesWrong. The evidence is clear: calculations show that even very substantial cigarette tax increases will still reduce consumption and increase tax revenues [..]
2. Tobacco addiction is so strong that simply raising taxes will not reduce demand; therefore, raising taxes is not justifiedScores of studies have shown that increased taxes reduce the number of smokers and the number of smoking-related deaths. Price increases induce some smokers to quit and prevent others from becoming regular or persistent smokers. [plus lots more..]
3. Governments will lose revenues if they increase cigarette taxes, because people will buy fewer cigarettesWrong. The evidence is clear: calculations show that even very substantial cigarette tax increases will still reduce consumption and increase tax revenues [..]
4. Smuggling and illicit production will undermine the effects of raised tobacco taxesSmuggling is a serious concern. But even in the face of smuggling, the evidence from a number of countries shows that tax increases still increase revenues and reduce cigarette consumption […]
[…] Studies for this report show that most countries would see no net job losses and that a few would see net gains if consumption fell.
6. Governments should not discourage smoking other than making its risks widely known. Otherwise, they would interfere with consumers’ freedom of choice[…] the choice to smoke may differ from the choice to buy other consumer goods and governments may consider interventions justified.
So...after May 31 ,2014... the future has to be ... smoke-free planet earth!
Glantz, S. A. and E. D. Balbach (2000) Tobacco war. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.
The World Bank – Tobacco