Tobacco tax: step towards eradicating cigarettes?
Taxation on cigarettes has increased dramatically in the past decade as the push for cutting down smoking rates have intensified. This is not without suitable rationale, though; most estimates suggest that the addiction costs the NHS between £5-6 billion each year.
Allowing government and bureaucrats to dictate what is desirable and undesirable through varying degrees of taxation is an inherently sinister thought. The freedom to smoke is one of personal choice and preference, and never a choice to be made by the state.
Moreover, the treasury receives massively inflated bonuses from smoking. Only £1 for every £7 of tobacco is spent on duty-free goods, while the rest is directed straight to the chancellor’s pocket via tobacco duties and VAT.
Any kind of flat rate tax such as the tobacco tax is bound to be regressive. The working-classes bear the greatest burden for this kind of penalty, and so if any group is to be excluded from this arena of freedom, it should be this social group.
High taxation does mean that it will simply eradicate nicotine addiction. Case studies show when someone is addicted to a substance, they will go by any means necessary to obtain it.
Importing tobacco is a new trend in the underbelly of the smoking concurrent. Many EU countries charge substantially less for the freedom of smoking, which inevitably leads to a substandard, international economy between competing nations.
It is true to say that any government should aim to minimise smoking rates, and there is a developing cultural trend which runs adjacent to this, but smoking is a private activity, and what kind of right to intervention should be afforded to the state in this realm of privacy?
Further infiltrations have been granted to the UK government in the form of legislation on “plain packaging” cigarette packets. This move carries the same level of interventionism that the regressive and cruel taxation does.
Is it right for us to allow those at the very top to create a monopoly on health? We should allow individuals the chance to explore their freedom, and if they choose the path of tobacco consumption, who are we to stop them?