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CGD Policy Blogs


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Corrective Taxes to Save Lives

Governments use corrective taxes to reduce the use of products that harm well-being and create costs not just to society at large (externalities) but also to individual consumers who may underestimate the future health consequences of their current consumption. Taxes on gas to reduce pollution or on carbon dioxide emissions to reduce greenhouse gases are classic examples of this approach.

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Eliminating Duty-free Tobacco—What Went Wrong?

International commitments to curb duty-free sales of tobacco under the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control have been largely ineffective, despite their potential to contribute to tobacco control as well as fiscal goals.

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Measuring the Effectiveness of Health Taxes: The Cigarette Tax Scorecard

Tobacco taxes are a highly effective instrument to reduce the consumption of tobacco, discourage new young smokers, raise government revenue, and help reduce the social and economic costs of tobacco products consumption, estimated at 8 million premature deaths per year and costing 1.8 percent of global output in health costs and productivity losses.

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New High-Level Report Calls for Higher Taxes on Tobacco, Alcohol, and Sugary Beverages to Prevent Millions of Deaths

The Task Force on Fiscal Policy for Health, co-chaired by Michael Bloomberg and Lawrence Summers just launched a report calling on governments to substantially raise taxes on tobacco, alcohol, and sugary beverages. Such policies could avert an estimated 50 million premature deaths while raising $20 trillion of new revenues. This isn’t particularly new news to the global health community which has been pushing for increased taxes to reduce consumption of products which are toxic to health. But it IS news that this Task Force has issued such a strong report for at least two reasons.

Can Taxes Postpone Millions of Deaths Worldwide? A New Task Force Led by Michael Bloomberg and Lawrence Summers Inquires

This week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers announced a new Task Force on Fiscal Policy for Health. This is the first time such a high-level group of respected economic and fiscal policy opinion leaders has convened on this issue, creating an opportunity to acknowledge the importance of taxes for promoting health and to take action to save lives.