Residents will get to vote and state their opinion in regards to a number of taxes, one of the most debated and controversial being the tobacco tax.
Coming close to the World Health Organization’s suggestion that one of the most effective measures against tobacco consumption would be to increase its price and taxes, a number of states including California and Colorado have included tax increases in their voting ballots.
The tobacco tax raise has been presented as both a way of combating smoking, and also of treating its possible effects, as in most cases the tax will also be used in order to fund treatments.
What all the taxes have in common, amongst others, is the wish to use the tax increase in order to prevent and decrease youth smoking.
As the smokers’ age keeps dropping, with younger people and even children being reported as smokers, a fixed percent of the taxes would go towards the funding of tobacco education programs.
This should contribute to a better understanding of the possible outcomes of smoking, and lead to the prevention or cessation of the habit.
Another future beneficiary of the increased tax would be the health programs that try to prevent and cure tobacco-related health issues. As smoking can lead to quite a number of health issues including lung and heart problems and even cancer, a higher budget could go a long way.
As all tobacco-related products will be included in the increased tax, from cigarettes and E-cigarettes to cigars and chewing tobacco, the increase should work as a further discouragement from smoking.
Still, the new value is not necessarily seen as a good move as almost each state has a number of opponents that claim the same or state particular problems with the ballot vote.
For example, voices in California argue that the increase in the tobacco tax would also mark an increase of black market smugglings. At the moment, it is estimated that 31,5 percent of the cigarettes smoked in the state are contraband and counterfeit products. Opponents of the measure, which include even some law enforcements, are worried that a higher cigarette pack cost will lead to a bigger percent of smuggled tobacco-based products.
Colorado tax increase opponents argue that an ineffective new tax program would lead to another voting session as residents would have to approve a new funding formula. The state uses its tobacco tax in order to fund both health and education programs, which include grants and student loans.
What do the readers think? Should the tobacco tax mark an increase which would lead to more expensive products? Or should the tax be kept at the same value and instead invest in education programs that would prevent or combat smoking?
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