Salud Pública de México
versión impresa ISSN 0036-3634
ARMENDARES, Pedro Enrique y REYNALES SHIGEMATSU, Luz Miriam. Fiscal policy and tobacco control: a unique opportunity to benefit public health and the public treasury. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2006, vol.48, suppl.1, pp.s167-s172. ISSN 0036-3634.
Various studies and analyses show that an increase in tobacco prices through taxation is one of the most efficient tools in the application of integral policies in the fight against tobacco. Increases in taxes contribute to cessation, to reductions in consumption and in the number of deaths among addicts and to decrease the number of people who start to smoke. However, many governments hesitate to apply high taxes to tobacco for fear of possible negative economic results including loss of jobs and a decrease in fiscal revenue as a consequence of smuggling. Both literature and empirical experience indicate that these negative consequences do not occur or have been overestimated, often due to arguments promoted by the tobacco industry itself. Increases in tobacco taxes result in greater fiscal income, even in the presence of smuggling, which can be confronted without eroding tobacco control policies. Numerous countries, including Mexico, still have a wide margin for increasing tobacco taxes, and thereby to take advantage of an exceptional opportunity that benefits both the population's health and the public treasury. To do so, governments must stand up to the powerful tobacco industry, which is aware of the efficiency of taxes to combat tobacco use and therefore resorts to intense ad campaigns, political lobbying and negotiation of voluntary agreements for "self-regulation" in order to avoid stricter legislative or fiscal measures.
Palabras llave : tobacco control; taxes; tobacco industry; smoking cessation.