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Is a society with smokers profitable?
Date:7/16/2009

The latest rise in the indirect taxation on tobacco and alcohol took place in June. The most popular brand of cigarettes went up in price from 3.10 euros to 3.30 euros per packet. Are these taxes a form of dissuasion or a way of compensating the rest of society for the harm generated by those who smoke? A study by the Polytechnic University of Cartagena has looked into the most significant questions concerning the tobacco economy.

The research, carried out by ngel Lpez and Arntzazu Viudes, reviews the main economic arguments for the analysis of the policies to control tobacco addiction and describes the market failures from different paradigms.

As Lpez declared to SINC, "we have not attempted to verify a specific hypothesis but rather carried out an appraisal of the studies on tobacco consumption from the economic point of view, including both the traditional vision and the more recent progress". It can be seen from this review, for example, that smoking is a personal choice which can generate net losses of welfare for other members of society and for the family of the smoker but, above all, for the person in question. "Upon this basis there exists an economic justification for corrective interventions by the State", the researchers explained.

The article, which has recently been published in the Revista Espaola de Salud Pblica (Spanish Magazine of Public Health), also discusses two of the most significant preventive measures nowadays: the ban on smoking in bars and restaurants and the taxes on payment in tobacco.

The economists put forward the following argument: "the measures depend on the mechanisms which generate losses of welfare. The taxes have traditionally been justified as corrections for the costs imposed on the rest of society, due either to a supposed imbalance between taxes and payments from the public sector or to the harm caused by secondhand tobacco".

The advantages of raising
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Contact: SINC
info@plataformasinc.es
34-914-251-820
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

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