Custom «Taxes on Tobacco and Alcohol» Essay Paper
Alcohol and tobacco have always been very controversial products. On the one hand, they greatly support the world economy, but they ruin people’s lives. According to the World Health Organization, almost six million people die from tobacco use and two and a half million from harmful effect of alcohol each year worldwide (Join Together Staff, 2011). These are only those, who die directly from the diseases caused by alcohol and tobacco. However, there are even more severe consequences, as these products weaken the overall health and immune system, which make people more susceptible to various diseases and infections.
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The high consumption of tobacco and alcoholic products is affecting the health of the consumers and puts under risk the lives of others who consume the products raising ethical questions. Accidents and crashes resulting from driving under the influence of alcohol and diseases contracted by those who are exposed to tobacco fumes are just but a few examples. There is a significant relationship between the consumption of alcohol and tobacco and the increase in the medical cost according to Rehm et al. (2006).
Tobacco and alcohol products have been used since times immemorial. The magnitude has kept rising with the increasing population. The products have been established to cause preventable deaths in many countries. The use of the two sets of products simultaneously is evident with most of those who consume alcohol and smoke or vice versa. It is quite hard to quit smoking or drinking alcohol once the person has practicing the habit for a while. There is an established link between the use of alcohol and tobacco products and the complications that include cancers, heart disease and lung disease. The treatment of a complication related to the use of the products is proving to be both chalenging and expensive. The lives lost due to alcohol and tobacco related causes exceed 100,000 people annually with expenditure in excess of $185 billion in United States. The loss of live has a direct impact on the economic aspects of life. People, who are expected to work, are removed from the workforce.
The problem is worsening by the fact that the majority of alcohol abusers are at the same time tobacco smokers. There are several causes of that: the use of alcohol may increase the positive effects of tobacco (or vice versa) as well as it may decrease the negative ones. Alcohol and tobacco become bad habits which are difficult to quit. It is not only a physical dependence, but a physiological one as well. In their early years teenagers and children watch movies in cinemas and on TV, where tobacco and alcohol are promoted. Companies that produce alcohol and cigarettes spend a lot of money in order to make their products popular.
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Moreover, there is too much advertisement on the streets, in the magazines and journals, which are decorated by all the rules to make it attractive, fashionable and desirable. Unfortunately, in today’s mercantile world, where the money is the number one target, more of it is spent on promoting alcohol and tobacco than on explaining the negative effects of these products.
Addiction to alcohol and tobacco are the most common mental health problems among teenagers (Join Together Staff, 2013). The Centers for Disease Control Prevention states that around one million teenagers abuse drugs and alcohol, while around 700,000 are addicted to tobacco (Join Together Staff, 2013). There are many reasons why teenagers, even under 18 (the lowest tobacco and alcohol age limit in the world) smoke and drink a lot. These are, for example, fake identification documents, which are afforrdable in many countries. In the developing countries the situation is even worse, as there is a high corruption level and sellers are not afraid to sell cigarettes and alcohol to the kids in order to gain more profit.
The problem of alcohol and tobacco consumption is recognized worldwide. However, it is hard to decrease the negative effects of this problem, as the industry receives high profits.
Tobacco and alcohol taxes must be increased in order to pay for rising medical cost. This will lower the tax burden for those citizens who do not smoke or drink alcohol but still need to pay high taxes in order to fulfill the lack of money for treatment of those people whose diseases are caused by alcohol and tobacco consumption.
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Alcohol and tobacco producers earn a lot by doing their business. In fact, their income is formed due to the health deterioration of millions of people all over the world. The free market economy does not allow the government to ban alcohol and tobacco sales. Customers are free to choose what to do with their lives. However, when the problems occur, alcohol drinkers and smokers go to hospitals, which are kept at the expense of all citizens. It is not fair that a person that lives a healthy life have to pay for the person who intentionally shortens one’s life.
Thus, the only way out is to make the smokers and alcohol drinkers pay more for their future treatment expenses. Increase of taxes on alcohol and tobacco will make smokers and drinkers pay in advance for their health problems. Of course, the companies that produce alcohol and tobacco will not pay more after the tax increase, but will pass these expenses to the consumer’s wallet. Thus, the price for the products will be increased, which will lead to several positive changes.
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