Essay on Why Smokers Should Pay a High Health Tax on Tobacco

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One of the most important questions that has to be raised is whether it is right or even ethical for smokers to pay a high amount of tax on tobacco or not. Or even whether individuals who live a healthy lifestyle and don’t smoke are forced to pay a cost for something that they never even did. There are 3 reasons as to why, in my opinion, smokers should pay an extremely high tax on tobacco.

Firstly, the most obvious one is that raising taxes on tobacco is the most effective policy to reduce tobacco use. Raising taxes on tobacco would then obviously make tobacco more expensive. And the very basic and logical thing is that consumers tend to buy less of something or the demand of a product would decrease once the price of the product increases and then it becomes less affordable which then decreases consumers purchasing power. On average, raising tobacco taxes to increase prices by 10% is estimated to reduce tobacco use by 4% in high-income countries and by around 5% in low- and middle-income countries. Also, low-income consumers wouldn’t have the urge to buy a high taxed product. A 2010 study undertaken in 20 lower-middle income countries found that a price increase of 10% would reduce consumption in youth aged 14 by 18%, more than three times higher than the consumption reduction achieved by the same measure among adults. A recent action has been taken in turkey about the impact of tobacco taxation and other concerns. Taxes there have been increasing such as advertisements regarding banning smoking and tobacco use. This led to a decrease in the sales of tobacco by 12% between 2008 and 2012.

Another reason as to why raising taxes should be implemented on tobacco is due to the fact that it saves lives. The decrease in consumption would improve the health of the community which later reduces the burden of having lung cancer and death in the world. World health organization calculates that if all countries increased taxes on cigarette packs by 50%, there would be 49 million fewer smokers and this would prevent 11 million deaths from occurring. Only one year after a smoker quits smoking, the risk of him/her getting coronary heart disease will drop drastically. Also, just ten years after quitting, the chance of getting lung cancer will fall to about half that of a smoker. An example would be given which is France. Between the early 1990s and 2005, France increased its taxes substantially which tripled the prices of cigarettes, and then sales were reduced heavily. A few years later they figured that there was a reduction in lung cancer death rates. and ever since these results occurred, France has started to regularly increase tobacco taxes since 2010. Adding to this point as well, if smokers continue doing what they’re doing which is to consume a tremendous number of cigarettes in a day, then second hand smokers would get affected. People who smoke would not only affect one’s who they’re surrounded by, but also animals that they own, with the environment that we barely take into consideration. Non-smokers shouldn’t pay the same price as smokers. because when non-smokers are surrounded by smokers, firstly they’d be called second hand smokers and that’s when they get affected as much as smokers and even more than them. So, once they get affected by the smoker’s decision of smoking the cigarettes, they’d be paying for a price that they never wanted to pay in the first place.

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And third, raising taxes on tobacco generates more revenues for the government. Once the amount of cigarette consumption decreases then government would start paying less towards the environmental damage that would occur if smokers didn’t have to pay a health tax. So, technically tax increases are a win situation because they’re good not only for public health but also for government revenues. World health organization estimates that if countries increased tobacco taxes by 50% per pack, governments around the world would earn an extra US$ 101 billion in revenue that could be put towards health and other social programs such as for example building more eco-friendly things. So not only would the government reduce its spending on global warming and environmental damage that would occur from smoking but it would gain direct revenue from the tax that it’ll be implementing.

Adding to imposing taxes on tobacco, a question that isn’t often taken into consideration is whether it is fair for people who live a healthy lifestyle should pay the same health premiums as those individuals who live an unhealthy one. Those who smoke should pay higher taxes for their health care since we all know that smoking leads to a greater number of health issues therefore needing services for healthcare more than the non-smoker would, so them paying more than the ones who live a healthy lifestyle should only be reasonable and logical. Therefore, if the smokers paid higher taxes, they would cover some of the health care costs they might accumulate and free up money for a variety of other issues.

To sum it up, smoking has a lot of indirect costs to society and the non-smoking public which I mentioned earlier that are costs of second-hand smoking, or even costs to employers in the form of productivity and absenteeism of smokers who are trying to recover from an illness that was due smoking these cigarettes. In addition to the indirect costs there exists to be negative externalities of smoking to society which consist of smoking-induced fires all the way to sicknesses and littering. These costs could be measured and are called tangible. There are other costs which can’t be quantified or measured, thus calling these costs intangible costs of smoking. These costs consist of a loss of life or the pain and the suffering of a person who is hurting from lung cancer or any other disease that might be due to cigarette consumption. By implementing the tax, the money that’s gotten from that could be beneficial in many ways such as funding researching for not yet curable illnesses and diseases such as AIDS and cancer all the way to even support the orphans by providing them with food and shelter.

In conclusion, I believe that the tax on cigarettes is a great idea since as I’ve mentioned earlier that it is the most effective policy to reduce tobacco use, it saves so many lives along with the fact that it would generate more revenues for the government, which could then be used for research purposes or even in order to enhance the economy’s well-being whether it would be from an environmental aspect all the way to the benefits that each individual in the community might get.

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Essay on Why Smokers Should Pay a High Health Tax on Tobacco. (2022, October 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 20, 2024, from
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