Sin Taxes

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Sin Taxes

There was a time when it was perfectly acceptable for parents to chain smoke in the car with their kids. In present time it is unlawful to smoke with a minor in the car. Since that time we as citizens have come a long way to making our country healthier but there is more room for improvement. Sin taxes are perceived by many people as a dreadful thing but in reality it gives the government options to help the American people as a whole. By raising Sin taxes it will offset the cost of indigent healthcare to the American tax payer, act as a deterrent of unhealthy behaviors and rectify the harmful effects of secondhand exposure.

In today’s society tobacco and alcohol make up a huge cost in our country. The costs that are associated with smoking and drinking related illnesses can’t be paid for by individuals who smoke and drink. For example, Parish (2004) stated that “Medicare and Medicaid programs in this country already assume a great deal of the burden of payment for smoking related illnesses…these two programs alone spend about $43.5 billion of the total $75 billion spent on smoking-related healthcare each year” (Conclusions and Recommendations, para. 1). Medicare and Medicaid programs only cover indigent care which in turn means, only the portion of necessary care which the individual cannot pay themselves. This is a problem because the United States government in turn foots the bill, and is already in a finical crisis. By levying a sin tax, the American government can impose the finical burden back on the original starting point.

Most Americans know that tobacco and alcohol are unhealthy, but their knowledge of the effects of sin products does little to avert their behavior. The World Health Organization (WHO) conducted a study in which they compared the health benefits of several interventions and the cost effectiveness of each. They created the term Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY), which details the years lost due to a...
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