News / Health

    Taxes Provide Best Incentive to Stop Smoking

    Taxes Provide Best Incentive to Stop Smokingi
    X
    Carol Pearson
    May 29, 2014 10:51 PM
    A lot of smokers start using cigarettes when they are teenagers, only to find later on that they can't kick the habit. It's a huge public health concern. As a result, researchers the world over, in government and in private institutions, are working on ways to help people stop smoking. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
    Carol Pearson
    A lot of smokers start using cigarettes when they are teenagers, only to find later on that they can't kick the habit.  It's a huge public health concern. As a result, researchers the world over, in government and in private institutions, are working on ways to help people stop smoking.  

    In Joanna Cohen's office at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Global Tobacco Control, cigarettes come in all types of packages....some are gruesome, while others are beautiful.

    With advertising restrictions in so many countries, cigarette companies are using the packages as advertising tools.  Governments use them to discourage smoking.  Researchers like Cohen say taxes are the best incentive in cutting back on smoking.

    "Taxes are a win-win situation. Smokers smoke less and governments increase their revenue so taxes are our most effective strategy and a win-win proposition," said Cohen.

    The World Health Organization is urging governments to increase taxes on tobacco products.

    The WHO says higher taxes are especially effective in reducing tobacco use among lower income groups and in preventing young people from starting.

    The organization says a 10 percent tax increase reduces tobacco use by 4 percent in high income countries, and by up to 8 percent in most low- and middle income countries.

    Statistics show there are a billion smokers in the world, almost one out of five people. Tobacco kills up to half of its users.

    Some people say if tobacco were banned, they wouldn't smoke at all.

    "I’ve been a smoker for 38 years.  It’s something that’s so hard for me to stop on my own," said a smoker.

    Others say they are so addicted they have to smoke, even if they know the health risks.

    "One of the worst addictions in the world is cigarette smoking. Inside my heart, something’s telling me to quit.  It’s not the right thing to do to my body and the ones around me," said another.

    Joanna Cohen says governments also have to introduce more strategies so those trying to stop can be more successful.

    "Seventy percent of smokers say they want to quit. We just need to figure out stategies to help support people in quitting in terms of reducing cues, making the product more inaccessible, harder to get, more expensive and less advertising, less promotion, those sorts of things," she said.

    Public health experts expect deaths from tobacco use to increase in the years to come, especially in low- and middle income countries, where most of the burden of tobacco-related disease is expected to occur.

    These experts are hopeful, however, that as proven strategies to prevent smoking are introduced, fewer people will take up the habit.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Pascal from: Netherlands
    June 04, 2014 9:35 AM
    We're a group of Experimental Psychologists that developed a simple online task to help people quit smoking. We'd encourage anyone currently stuck in their addiction to give it a go at http://impulstop.com


    by: Mike Adams
    May 31, 2014 10:38 AM
    Why are Cigarettes the only "sin" that is taxed so high? Why not equal the scale & tax the same amount for: Alcohol, Cigars, Dip, Drugs, Fatty & Sugary Foods, & Weed! It's only fair~

    by: harleyrider1978 from: nashville tn
    May 30, 2014 10:41 AM
    Smokers are cutting back on food to fund their craving
    Just what lengths smokers will go to to feed their habit is borne out in a separate study by Pfizer Ireland which found:
    - 10% cut back on buying food
    - 35% said they cut down on eating out
    - 24% pulled out of social engagements
    - 22% also said that they cut back on holidays to avoid cutting their smoking budget.
    More than half of the smokers interviewed admitted to spending between €50 and €100 per week on cigarettes.
    Former Cork senior footballer Dan Dineen, a 47-year-old plumber, is a prime example of the lengths smokers will go to.
    At the height of his habit he sold his beloved Harley Davidson to fund an addiction that was costing €800 a month.

    by: Monika Wahi from: Boston, MA
    May 30, 2014 6:03 AM
    I agree, but this looks fishy to me. Why is tobacco a legal crop at all? We don't have to tax meth, coke, heroin, because they have been deemed too dangerous to be legal. This is just another way for governments to enslave people by getting them addicted to something expensive that is taxed.
    In Response

    by: Mistairhead from: Portage
    May 30, 2014 10:29 AM
    Tax hikes do work, that is the problem, because what happens when they governments are not getting as much revenue from smokers...what might they start taxing next air?

    by: Regula from: USA
    May 30, 2014 3:43 AM
    The health issues of smoking could be greatly reduced if use of pesticides and additive chemicals were prohibited. Smoke has its negative effect - but it is relatively mild in comparison to the effect of the chemicals like artificial fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides used in tobacco production. Also, additives which increase addiction should be prohibited. These steps would go a long way to restore smoking to the pleasure it once was, before it became an almost insurmountable addiction.

    The endless taxing and vilification of tobacco doesn't really address the true problems of this epoch: pollution of air, water and food.

    People have smoked since time immemorial, without the adverse health consequences smoking has today. The same way that people since time immemorial ate red meat, pork and sausages, without the adverse effects these foods have today.

    As long as the chemical industry is allowed to adulterate just about every item used in life, from water, food to furniture, clothes, kitchen utensils, to smoking and beyond, smoking is made into a scape goat to obfuscate the much larger problem, which is the overload of toxic chemicals in today's everyday life.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora