Social Consequences Of Sinking Tax

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“Sin taxes” are a type of excise tax levied on harmful products such as alcohol or tobacco. One of cigarette taxes’ purposes is to reduce smoking habits. However, what seems like a simple solution to generate revenue for the government and deter a harmful habit has social consequences that cannot be overlooked. Because cigarette taxes are currently regressing society by hurting low-income smokers and encouraging smuggling in the United States, they should either be revoked, or the generated revenue should be used to fund health organizations.
The World Health Organization (WHO), a branch of the United Nations concerned with public health, claims that cigarette taxes should be authorized because they prevent smoking related deaths. WHO hypothesizes
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Lydia Saad, senior editor for The Gallup Poll, argues that cigarette taxes only serve to hurt low-income Americans because “half of today's smokers (53%) earn less than $36,000 per year” (Saad). Saad uses this evidence to argue that sin taxes should be revoked because they place a financial burden on lower-income smokers. Similar to Saad’s argument that cigarette taxes regress society, Alden Wicker, founder and editor in chief of EcoCult.com, claims cigarette taxes hurt poor smokers because in New York, low-income smokers spend 25% of their income on cigarettes (Wicker). Wicker uses this evidence to urge the government to spend the revenue on health organizations because cigarette taxes are a financial burden to the…show more content…
For example, the American Lung Association (ALA), an organization that strives to improve lung health and prevent lung disease, argues that revenue from cigarette taxes has “supported children and adults across the country” ("Cigarette & Tobacco Taxes"). ALA uses this to argue for the authorization of cigarette taxes because the revenue is spent in a way that benefits people in need of health care. However, this is a misconception because the government is actually using the revenue ineffectively. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a federal agency that promotes public health, shows that in 2016, $25.8 billion will be collected from cigarettes taxes, but only $468 million, less than 2% of the revenue, will be spent on “prevention and cessation programs” (“Smoking & Tobacco Use”). Instead, the government spends it on “routine government projects and debt payments” (“Smoking & Tobacco Use”). CDC uses this evidence to show that cigarette taxes are creating financial issues for poor smokers. It argues that if the government is taxing smokers, the revenue should at least be used more effectively to help low-income

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