In reality, a sin tax bill is only effective for the government that gets to collect taxes. These taxes usually don't stop the average person from partaking in their so-called sin. A person will continue to buy cigarettes, alcohol, and other products regardless of how high these taxes actually are.
If you're going to spend 2.00 on a pack of cigarettes, you probably won't give the cost a second thought. But that same pack of cigarettes is now going to cost you 8.00 dollars, but you know that the cost to make it is much much less than that. Are you going to happily pay 8 when you KNOW you're being upcharged? Will you not think twice?
As someone who has taken a class or two on the topic of economics, I believe that a sin tax is a very effective policy. The reason for this is because these so called sin items have an inelastic demand, meaning that people will buy them even if the price is high.
It does what it is supposed to do, at least it does on cigarettes. Not sure about alcohol and Gambling because they are not taxed as high. Plus people feel smoking harms other people where the others don't. That is up for debate though. If you abuse alcohol, after a while it will effect people close to you, and can result in bodily harm on other people. If you tax any thing to high, of course it will slow people down. The problem is you could be creating other problems too, by people using a black market system. This way they can have their vices, and not have to pay such a high price to get them.
While they are effective they also go over board in my opinion. Yes smoking has decreased, but really that's about it. I think alcohol and gambling remain the same. Of course alcohol and gambling aren't taxed as bad as smoking. Plus many people feel smoking harms other people where gambling and alcohol doesn't . Except when people abuse them they do indeed harm other people just like smoking. Everyone has their vices and I think these people are going over board on making unfair taxes, but I would say taxes do slow people down.
I don't drink, smoke, use drugs, or partake in any recreational substance use.
That having been said, I need to say something else: It's one thing to try to control or influence people's morals, but it's quite another to try to make money and create personal gain for oneself because someone make a decision based upon their personal morals and discretion (and then lie about how it's used for public services). I don't remember a part in the constitution that says you can govern people by influencing their morals heavily (which, for you guys, is so, so easy, because most of the government is so in bed with large business it's basically having affairs with all the major corporations and pharmaceuticals).
We are self governing, and we hold these truths to be self-evident, so if you think our morals and personal choices are a honeycomb you can suck sweet money from, sit down and shut up before we stage a revolt and take away your comfortable little lives built on taking advantage of people's personal choices.
I think this is a very ineffective tax. These high taxes on cigarettes, for example, haven't worked, from what I've seen. It's just making smokers (for instance) who are poor even more poor. I've even seen people trade $15 worth of food stamps for $10 worth of regular cash, just so they can buy cigarettes. Sin tax is harmful and too simple.
No, a sin tax is not effective in curbing bad habits such as smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. A sin tax is even unfair and discriminates against those citizens who choose to partake in "sinful" activities and makes them pay more money for their wanton behavior. A sin tax should therefore be discourage.
Although smoking has decreased, it's mostly do to the aggressive PSA campaigns that have been floating around the last 20 years. I currently live in Quebec where alcohol is at least two to three times more expensive than the US, yet people drink much more. Smoking is also more expensive, but people continue to smoke. It has more to do with societal acceptance of the behaviors than how much we tax people.