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Study Says Tripling Tobacco Tax Could Save Millions Of Lives

According to the study, a three-fold increase in cigarette taxes around the world could prevent as many as 200 million premature deaths.
Posted at 10:34 PM, Jan 01, 2014

They say the only certainties in life are death and taxes, and a new study says an increase in one may help stave off the other.

According to the study from cancer researchers in the United Kingdom, a three-fold increase in cigarette taxes around the world could prevent as many as 200 million premature deaths before the end of this century. (Via BBC)

They came to that conclusion after a systematic review of some 63 studies on tobacco smoking in different countries. (Via The Province)

According to one of the study’s co-authors, the tax hike would: “help many adults to stop while there’s still time. If they keep smoking, about half will be killed by it, but if they stop before 40, they’ll reduce their risk of dying from tobacco by 90%.” (Via Daily Mirror)

The researchers believe the high cost would prevent young people from starting smoking and current smokers from continuing the habit by simply switching to a cheaper brand when expenses are tight. (Via CNN)

Which is an idea that has some precedence to back it up.

According to Medical Daily, France has seen success with the strategy. “After raising taxes beyond inflation between 1990 and 2005, France was able to cut the country’s number of active smokers by half.”

And as USA Today reports a 2009 increase in U.S. cigarette taxes that raised cigarette prices by 22% caused around 3 million fewer people to smoke just two years later. 

 

Though despite compelling evidence, there might be some downsides to such a move.

The Globe and Mail reports that increases in cigarette taxes have led to increased cigarette smuggling in the past.

And a writer forU.S. News and World Report argues that so-called “Sin Taxes” often disproportionately affect the poor.

According to the World Health Organization about half of all smokers will die as a result of their habit — factoring in to the nearly 6 million tobacco related deaths every year.