11 December 2017 - Sam Harper

Can we tax our way to more equitable tobacco use? Evidence from Canada

Speaker(s)Sam Harper

Date: Monday, 11 December 2017

Time: 12:00-13:00

Venue: Queridozaal, education center of Erasmus Medical Center

Contact person(s): Teresa Bago d'Uva


Tobacco use has declined substantially in many rich countries as a consequence of changes in tobacco policy and large-scale behavioural change. However, tobacco use has generally become concentrated among individuals of lower socioeconomic position, and how to further reduce tobacco use in an equitable manner remains an important question. International tobacco policy organizations advocate raising taxes to reduce tobacco use, but the impact on equity has not been well studied. We provide new evidence on this question using data from the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Surveys. We take advantage of changes in tobacco taxation among Canadian provinces to estimate the impact on socioeconomic subgroups. We find little evidence that increases in tobacco taxes have made meaningful contributions to the socioeconomic gradient in smoking in Canada.