Tobacco price rise helps, not harms, the poor


Instead of a regressive policy which targets the poor, the ongoing rise in tobacco excise benefits the poor more than it does the rich, say experts.

Public health physician Dr Nathan Grills and research assistant Nicole Hughes, both with the Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne, argue in MJA InSight today that suggestions the tobacco excise harms low-income people is “a shortsighted analysis and demonstrates a poor understanding of a sophisticated tobacco control intervention”.

“In reality, the policy actually benefits the poor far more than the rich because it is a progressive tax in terms of public health and long-term economic benefit,” the pair write.

“This tax will reduce the long-term financial losses and payments more in lower than in higher socio-economic groups, by reducing medical expenses and protecting livelihoods especially in poorer groups. Ultimately it saves more lives in lower SES groups than in higher SES groups.”

They say that the evidence that increasing the cost of tobacco increases intentions to quit, ultimately resulting in help to quit, is “beyond all reasonable doubt, unless you represent Big Tobacco”.

“Using studies on the effect of price increase on tobacco usage, we can estimate that a 100% price increase (as these excise increases will deliver) will decrease cigarette purchases by around 42%. That is, a price elasticity of –0.42,” the pair write.

Annual tobacco surveys show that taxation has contributed significantly to reducing tobacco use to one of the lowest rates in the world, they say.

And poorer people are more likely to be influenced to quit by an increase in the price of cigarettes, they say: price elasticity is higher among those who have lower incomes.

This is particularly the case for young people, who tend to have lower incomes, because they are less likely to take up the expensive habit in the first place or become addicted.

“Increasing the pack price to $40 will not only save more lives, but it will also protect more livelihoods in low SES groups than in high SES groups,” they write.

“These lower SES groups are often the least able to afford to have their breadwinners sick or dying from tobacco-related illness: a result that happens more often than not for those who are long-term smokers.”

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6 Comments

  1. castello
    24/05/2016

    How about promoting the best alternative to smoking? If you’re not promoting e-cigarettes, YOU ARE PROMOTING SMOKING! https://www.gov.uk/government/news/e-cigarettes-around-95-less-harmful-than-tobacco-estimates-landmark-review

  2. Daniel Hammond
    24/05/2016

    ………High tobacco taxes do not lower smoking prevalence, they only shift the legal tobacco market to the illicit one. Pr. Robert Molimard (prominent tobacco expert) has this to say on the issue:

    ”For decades, we have been served a lie, with no tolerance for any criticism or challenge, namely: that the only effective method to reduce smoking prevalence is to increase the price of cigarettes. But since it does not work, they allege that it is because the increases are neither high enough nor frequent enough! But just as with their tactic of stigmatization of smokers, the high-price policy does not work.”

    Look at figure 3 and read the whole article at : cagecanadadotblogspotdotca/2010/12/beliefs-man

  3. Daniel Hammond
    24/05/2016

    …OSHA also took on the passive smoking fraud and this is what came of it:

    Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence: Third Edition

    This sorta says it all

    These limits generally are based on assessments of health risk and calculations of concentrations that are associated with what the regulators believe to be negligibly small risks. The calculations are made after first identifying the total dose of a chemical that is safe (poses a negligible risk) and then determining the concentration of that chemical in the medium of concern that should not be exceeded if exposed individuals (typically those at the high end of media contact) are not to incur a dose greater than the safe one.

    So OSHA standards are what is the guideline for what is acceptable ”SAFE LEVELS”

    OSHA SAFE LEVELS

    All this is in a small sealed room 9×20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

    For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes.

    “For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes.

    “Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

    Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

    “For Hydroquinone, “only” 1250 cigarettes.

    For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time.

    The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

    So, OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

    Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA.

    Why are their any smoking bans at all they have absolutely no validity to the courts or to science!

  4. Daniel Hammond
    24/05/2016

    ,,The inconvenient truth is that the only studies of children of smokers suggest it is PROTECTIVE in contracting atopy in the first place. The New Zealand study says by a staggering factor of 82%.

    “Participants with atopic parents were also less likely to have positive SPTs between ages 13 and 32 years if they smoked themselves (OR=0.18), and this reduction in risk remained significant after adjusting for confounders.

    The authors write: “We found that children who were exposed to parental smoking and those who took up cigarette smoking themselves had a lower incidence of atopy to a range of common inhaled allergens.
    “These associations were found only in those with a parental history of asthma or hay fever.”

    They conclude: Our findings suggest that preventing allergic sensitization is not one of them.”
    The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
    Volume 121, Issue 1 , Pages 38-42.e3, January 2008

    .
    This is a Swedish study.

    “Children of mothers who smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day tended to have lower odds for suffering from allergic rhino-conjunctivitis, allergic asthma, atopic eczema and food allergy, compared to children of mothers who had never smoked (ORs 0.6-0.7)

    CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates an association between current exposure to tobacco smoke and a low risk for atopic disorders in smokers themselves and a similar tendency in their children.”
    Clin Exp Allergy 2001 Jun;31(6):908-14

  5. Vinny Gracchus
    25/05/2016

    Seems ‘newspeak’ is alive and well. Again evidence that tobacco control relies on lies and propaganda to force its neo-puritan agenda. Remember, the lies about plain packages and the fabricated risk of second hand smoke. Expose this antismoker propaganda.

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