In United States, it is estimated that smoking because the cause of approximately 438,000 deaths each year, inclusive of people who are indirectly affected by smoking, such as babies who are born prematurely because their mothers have smoked while they were still pregnant and people who developed diseases due to second-hand smoke. Moreover, the United States spends over $167 billion each year for healthcare which includes over $92 billion in mortality-related productivity. The government loses $75 billion in medical expenses (“Smoking 101 Fact Sheet”).
In an attempt to lessen the number of smokers and to resolve the current dilemma, the government has proposed an increase on the taxes imposed to tobacco companies in order to discourage the consumers in purchasing cigarettes. In this way, the number of people using cigarettes and suffering from health problems brought by cigarettes would decrease (Scott). 2. What are the arguments in favor of that policy? The main purpose of the increase on the tobacco excise tax is to decrease the proliferation of the product, to discourage the consumers from buying such products, and to decrease the health dilemmas associated with smoking.
Arguments for the increase in tobacco excise tax are promotion of health and welfare of the constituents or inhabitants of the country. The increase in cigarette taxes will help increase the country’s total revenue that can be used in various projects of the government. 3. What are the arguments against that policy? Opposing arguments prevail making the policy controversial, raising the cigarette taxes is a bad idea and will not render the expected tax revenue. It is either people will stop smoking or they will buy cigarettes in neighboring states that has lower cigarette taxes.
The government may be successful in reducing the total smoking population, but it will lose taxes when people quit smoking. Although sin taxes only amount to a small percentage in the total collection of the state, taxes from tobacco are also utilized to fund various projects of the government. Moreover, the main priority of the state is to sustain jobs (“Should Virginia raise Taxes on Cigarettes? ”). 4. What alternatives to the current policy exist? There are many alternatives to the existing policy like smoking ban and comprehensive informational campaigns that will discourage the people from smoking. 5.
What are some potential or real unintended consequences of that policy? The policy will form a chain of effects on the industry of tobacco or cigarettes. The companies either will close down or forced to lay-off some of the employees for they cannot sustain the employment that will lead to hundreds or thousands of unemployed people that will be in need of the government’s assistance. 6. Do you think the benefits of this policy outweigh the costs? No. I think that cigarette smoking is a personal choice and decision. The state could just regulate the smoking public like assigning places where they can smoke.
The consequences of imposing the increase in cigarette taxes will render more complicated problems than resolving one problem. 7. Are the benefits widely distributed or concentrated? Are the costs widely distributed or concentrated? How does this affect the politics that lay behind the policy? The benefits the policy will render are distributed as it comprised the whole nation. The costs or the consequences are far more widely as it affects the sector of the economy. The policy is not fully implemented and not that feasible as many people are still lighting up. A rigorous legislation is in need for achieving the objectives of the policy.
Works Cited Scott, Ronald. 2 February 2002. “Why are states raising cigarette taxes? ” University of Houston Law Center. 4 August 2009 <http://www. law. uh. edu/healthlaw/perspectives/PublicHealth/020222Why. html>. “Should Virginia raise Taxes on Cigarettes? ” 13 January 2009. The Progress-Index. 4 August 2009 <http://www. progress-index. com/articles/2009/01/13/editorial/pi_progindex. 20090113. a. pg4. pi0113bcedit_s1. 2183606_edi. txt>. “Smoking 101 Fact Sheet. ” May 2007. American Lung Association. 4 August 2009 <http://www. lungusa. org/site/c. dvLUK9O0E/b. 39853/k. 5D05/Smoking_101_Fact_Sheet. htm>.