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Reasons for Government Taxation on Cigarettes

Explain the reasons why governments tax cigarettes.

Category:

Taxes and subsidies

Frequently asked question

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Answer

Use evidence-based arguments rather than personal opinions.

Governments tax cigarettes for several reasons. Firstly, it serves as a means to raise revenue for the government. Cigarettes have a price-inelastic demand, meaning that even if the price increases, smokers are likely to continue purchasing them due to addiction. This makes cigarettes a reliable source of tax revenue, which can be utilized to fund various government expenditures, such as education programs and public services.
Secondly, taxing cigarettes aims to discourage consumption and production. Cigarettes are considered demerit goods due to their harmful effects on individuals' health. They are addictive and can cause serious health problems, often underestimated by smokers. By imposing taxes, governments intend to increase the cost of cigarettes, making them less affordable and discouraging people from starting or continuing to smoke. It also serves as a deterrent for the tobacco industry to produce and market cigarettes, contributing to public health objectives.
Another reason for taxing cigarettes is to address the external costs associated with smoking. Cigarette smoking generates external costs, which are costs borne by third parties who are not directly involved in the consumption or production of cigarettes. These costs include pollution, health problems for non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke, and increased healthcare expenses. By taxing cigarettes, governments aim to reduce the negative externalities caused by smoking and internalize these costs, encouraging smokers to bear the social costs of their habit.
Furthermore, taxing cigarettes can also contribute to improving a country's current account position. Many countries import cigarettes from other nations. By imposing taxes on imported cigarettes, governments can generate additional revenue and potentially reduce the demand for imported cigarettes. This, in turn, may help reduce the trade deficit and improve the overall balance of trade.
In conclusion, governments tax cigarettes for a combination of reasons. These include raising revenue, discouraging consumption and production of harmful products, addressing external costs associated with smoking, and potentially improving the current account position. By implementing taxation policies, governments aim to balance public health concerns, economic objectives, and the social costs associated with smoking.

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I. 🍃Introduction
A. Background information on the topic
B. Thesis statement

II. Reasons for imposing taxes on cigarettes
A. To raise revenue
➡️1. Demand for cigarettes is price-inelastic
➡️2. Smoking is addictive
➡️3. Revenue can be spent on education, healthcare, etc.
B. To discourage consumption
➡️1. Cigarettes are a demerit good
➡️2. Cigarettes are more harmful than smokers realize
➡️3. They cause health problems
C. To discourage production
➡️1. Cigarettes are a demerit good
➡️2. They cause health problems
➡️3. They create external costs

III. External costs of smoking
A. Imposing a cost on third parties
B. Pollution caused by smoking
C. Health problems for non-smokers

IV. Improving the current account position
A. Cigarettes may be imported
B. Reducing imports can improve the current account position

V. 👉Conclusion
A. Restate thesis statement
B. Summarize main points
C. Concluding thoughts on the topic.

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Logical explanation which might include: To raise revenue - demand for cigarettes is price-inelastic / smoking is addictive / to spend on e.g. education -. To discourage consumption / to discourage production - they are a demerit good / cigarettes are more harmful than smokers realise / they cause health problems -. To reduce external costs / they create external costs - impose a cost on third parties / cause pollution / health problems for non-smokers -. To improve the current account position - cigarettes may be imported -.

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