Tobacco, Taxation, and Fairness
Journal of Medical Ethics 2002 December; 28(6): 381-383
The author defends himself against an attack by Smith and Bopp on his views on smoking and taxation. The theory that, on the grounds of equity and/or fairness, smokers should pay via taxation on tobacco for the health care costs of treating smoking-related medical conditions is discussed and shown to be defective. It is argued that the fundamental mistake that Smith and Bopp make is to confuse and conflate the separate issues of whether particular taxes are fair and whether they are justifiable. The conclusion is reached that an excise duty on tobacco is a good tax. It is a non-fair or even an unfair tax but it is justified on grounds other than fairness.
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