Are Cigarette Taxes About Health, Or Just An Excuse For More Taxes?

With the World Health Organization (WHO) calling Tuesday for increased tobacco taxes to discourage use, one tax expert is arguing the push has nothing to do with health and all to do with revenue.

“Politicians say they want to raise tobacco taxes to stop smoking but as we learned in the United States, state politicians that said the same thing now want to tax vaping because they are not interested in health,” Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “They are interest in tax revenue.”

In its report, “WHO Report on the global tobacco epidemic 2015,” the international health agency argued not enough governments levy appropriate levels of taxes on tobacco products. Thus, the report claims, many countries are missing a low cost way to curtail its use.

“An international UN or WHO that is taxing tobacco products is in fact a co-owner , co-beneficiary and silent partner with the tobacco industry,” Norquist continued. “The one way to make sure you don’t reduce their use is to make the government profit from their success.”