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Tobacco companies are spending millions to stop a cigarette tax increase in California that public health officials say would save thousands of lives a year. California Department of Health Services

Californians backing cigarette tax boost, even though Big Tobacco spending millions

California, the nation's single largest market for cigarettes, has one of the lowest taxes on them. A proposal to raise the tax by US$2 a pack could signal a sea change.
Smokers not only pay a lot of money for cigarettes but also for their health insurance. www.shutterstock.com

Another cost of smoking: Sky-high insurance

To discourage smoking, insurance companies charge higher premiums for smokers. This is having an unexpected consequence: rather than quit smoking, poor people are quitting insurance.
Anti-smoking momentum among young people is starving the tobacco industry of new smokers, Donnakarn Pongmanutsakorn/Shutterstock

The slow-burn, devastating impact of tobacco plain packs

It is three years since Australia fully implemented its historic tobacco plain packaging law. From December 1, 2012, all tobacco products have been required to be sold in the mandated standardised packs…
Labor is presenting its proposal to increase tax on cigarettes as an aid to the health of Australians and a boost to government revenue. 55Laney69/Flickr

Labor would slug smokers to boost revenue, improve health

A Shorten government would further substantially increase the excise on tobacco, taking the price of a packet of 25 cigarettes to nearly A$41 by 2020 and boosting revenue by $47.7 billion over a decade.
Not enough tobacco company money is going into public health campaigns. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz

True cost of diverted tobacco payouts measured in lives

The #20 Million Memorial created earlier this month by the United States Centers for Disease Control, is an online tribute to honor the 20 million spouses, mothers, fathers, children, sisters, brothers…
The $14 billion derived annually from tobacco and alcohol tax is already a pretty good bucket from which to fund health and medical research. Reinis Taidras/Flickr

Funding health research: a win-win alternative to co-payments

One of the most criticised components of the federal budget has been the proposed $7 co-payment for GP visits and some medical tests. But there’s a healthy way the treasurer can have his cake and eat it…
The recent tobacco tax rise showed the usual entrenched positions of public health advocates and libertarians. Nick|Allen/Flickr

Slurs aside, let’s talk about the ethics of public health measures

Predictable positions followed the recent announcement of an increase in tobacco tax by 12.5% a year for four years. Public health advocates praised the tax, labelling those questioning it as “tobacco…

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