Should heavy tax be apply on tobacco to discourage people from smoking?
Debate Rounds (3)
Applying heavy taxes on tobacco business can raise only the prices of tobacco. High prices can stop only poor people from smoking.
It will be only possible when the cost of tobacco will be so high that it can not be affordable. Although the prices of tobacco can be raise by applying heavy taxes on tobacco but it can not effectively decrease the interest of people in smoking. People will raise their expenses on tobacco.
It is compulsory to apply such strategy which decrease the interest of people in smoking.
This strategy should be affordability related and also interest related which discourage people from smoking.
The Taxes don't Work
The tax on tobacco are already high enough; in the UK "151.90 of every kg of tobacco is taxed. This equates to about 70p of tax on every 50g of tobacco for the individual buying it. If these taxes were raised any higher there would undoubtedly(1) be a huge black market for all tobacco products. Currently, in the UK, "27% of cigarettes and 68% of roll your own tobacco is purchased on the black market"(1). If these black markets became widespread this would surely increase and lead to:
A greater burden on the police forces, which will result in more money spent on policing to deal with the problem of black market tobacco.
Money generated through the black market falling into the hands of gangs.
The-Man forfeited this round.
Invasion of Civil Liberties
If you were a long term smoker who had no wish to give up smoking and suddenly faced huge costs in your purchasing of tobacco wouldn't you be outraged? Especially in the U.S where health care is paid for by the patient, and your smoking has no negative impact on the rest of society. To push a law through like this you would face immense opposition by the 19.3% of Americans(2) who smoke and also opposition by the tobacco companies. This law would be so deeply unpopular that no politician would want to risk the political fallout pushing it through.
If this is the case, the twin purpose of reducing smoking and raising revenues from cigarettes " oxymoronic in every sense " are simultaneously defeated. In which case, there will indeed be a need to raise more money for health care for smokers but very little may be raised precisely because the source " legitimate cigarettes " have been taken over by the illicit kind.
There is some sense in examining the capability of the smokers to absorb the heavy tax before it is imposed.
The high tax makes a huge black market for tobacco, the money falling into the hands of organised crime.
The higher tax could be comparable to the prohibition, and backroom smoking dens would appear. There would be public outcry and any politician who supported the measure would lose popularity with the electorate.
Therefore it is unlikely that a politician would make the tax high enough to affect overall consumption.
There will be job losses in the tobacco industry.
See comments for my thoughts on this debate.
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