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Tobacco Taxation ‘Arguably The Single Most Effective Tool’ To Discourage Smoking

The Conversation: A tax increase that’s proven to save lives
Jeffrey Drope, professor in residence of global health at Marquette University, and Otis W. Brawley, professor at the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University

“…Arguably, the single most effective tool [to address smoking-related illnesses], both in terms of cost and population-level effects, is tobacco taxation. A large body of evidence demonstrates that applying excise taxes on tobacco products on a sustained basis so that people cannot afford them is currently the most effective policy instrument to discourage smoking. … From a health and political perspective, there could be significant co-benefits — governments could reinvest revenue in priorities such as improving health systems as well as disease prevention and treatment. This would thereby deliver significant savings in future health care costs. … In global meetings, this potential for revenue generation has led governments to conclude that tobacco taxes should be leveraged as a domestic source of development financing … But politicians need to demonstrate the will to translate intent into action. … Progress is not possible if we let the tobacco industry shape health policy, so the wider health and development community must join the cancer community in being visible and vocal advocates for high tobacco taxes” (11/29).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.