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Taxation and regulation of smoking, drinking and gambling in the European Union

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  • Sijbren Cnossen

    ()

  • D. Forrest
  • S. Smith

Abstract

Smoking is the single largest cause of avoidable death in the European Union accounting for over half a million deaths each year. One in ten of all 11-year olds have been drunk twice or more times, possibly causing lasting physical and mental harm. Electronic gaming machines are the crack cocaine of gambling. Consumer sovereignty, on the other hand, indicates that people should be allowed to smoke as long as they do not harm others. There is sound medical evidence, furthermore, that a drink each day keeps the doctor away, while recreational gambling can be an enjoyable form of entertainment for many people. These and other salient facts about the harmful and positive effects of smoking, drinking and gambling provide the background for a dispassionate economic analysis of the taxation and regulation of these activities. The main message the studies convey is that it would be unrealistic to rely solely on duty levels and differentiation to curb abusive use. Duty levels do have a clear impact in restraining consumption by children and young adults - an important priority for policy. But complementary policies - including direct regulation and provision of information - also have a meaningful role to play in each of the markets for tobacco, alcohol and gambling.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis in its series CPB Special Publication with number 76.

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Date of creation: Feb 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cpb:spcial:76

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  1. Frank J. Chaloupka, 1991. "Rational Addictive Behavior and Cigarette Smoking," NBER Working Papers 3268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
  3. Jérôme Adda & Francesca Cornaglia, 2006. "The Effect of Taxes and Bans on Passive Smoking," CEPR Discussion Papers 509, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  4. de Bovenberg, A Lans & Mooij, Ruud A, 1994. "Environmental Levies and Distortionary Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1085-89, September.
  5. Chaloupka, Frank J. & Warner, Kenneth E., 2000. "The economics of smoking," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 29, pages 1539-1627 Elsevier.
  6. Frank J. Chaloupka & Henry Wechsler, 1995. "Price, Tobacco Control Policies and Smoking Among Young Adults," NBER Working Papers 5012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
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