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

Author

Listed:
  • Sijbren Cnossen

    () (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)

  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Sijbren Cnossen & D. Forrest & S. Smith, 2009. "Taxation and regulation of smoking, drinking and gambling in the European Union," CPB Special Publication 76, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpb:spcial:76
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chaloupka, Frank J. & Wechsler, Henry, 1997. "Price, tobacco control policies and smoking among young adults," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 359-373, June.
    2. Jerome Adda & Francesca Cornaglia, 2005. "The effects of taxes and bans on passive smoking," CeMMAP working papers CWP20/05, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    3. 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.
    4. Chaloupka, Frank, 1991. "Rational Addictive Behavior and Cigarette Smoking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 722-742, August.
    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. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H8 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism

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