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January 27, 2010

Promoting Health Through Tobacco Taxation

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health (Dr Ali), and Global Health Institute (Dr Koplan), Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

JAMA. 2010;303(4):357-358. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.23

Taxing tobacco has been a long-standing contributor to government revenues. Tobacco excise taxes were first proposed by Alexander Hamilton in 1794 but not effectively implemented until the 1860s. By 1880, tax on tobacco accounted for 31% of total federal tax receipts.1 In addition to revenue generation, tobacco taxation has proved an effective policy measure to reduce tobacco consumption in many countries (eg, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa). In 2010, in the context of world leaders (especially in Japan, China, and the United States) contemplating or enacting legislation regarding excise tax increases on tobacco products, it is important to consider the broader determinants of promoting health through taxation.

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