Taxation and Cancer prevention Juliana Tambellini University Of Pittsburgh
Learning Objectives • To understand the potential benefits of taxation as a means of Cancer prevention • To review the pros and cons of this approach for cancer prevention
Learning Objectives • Examine current taxes which advance potentially advance cancer prevention (including lung, cancer, skin, cancer, etc) • Learn about pros and cons of such approaches
Cancer • Cancer is a class of diseases in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth and can spreading to other locations in the body via blood.
Cancer Image from “Mastering Biology”, Pearson 2011 Image courtesy of Google images
Causes of cancer • Researchers divide the causes of cancer into two groups • Environmental factors • Hereditary genetic factors • Cancer is primarily an environmental disease
What is an Environmental factor? • Factors that are not transmitted genetically or by infection • Present in surroundings Photos courtesy of Google images
Environmental Causes • Tobacco • Diet and obesity • Infections • Radiation • Lack of physical activity • Pollutants • Stress • Alcohol • Physical and mental abuse • Radiation • Chemicals found in personal care products and household cleaners
Tobacco • Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana • Most commonly consumed in the forms of smoking and chewing
tobacco • Tobacco consumption is believed to be directly related to nicotine dependence and addiction • The usage of tobacco is an activity that is practiced by some 1.1 billion people, and up to 1/3 of the adult population Image courtesy of nicotineaddictionwithdrawal.com
Taxes oN tobacco • Cigarette taxation has appeared throughout American history and still prominently used today • In the United States cigarettes are taxed at both the federal and state levels Photo courtesy of Google images
Taxes on tobacco • Many studies show that taxes on tobacco leads to a decrease in smoking rates • Since tobacco is known to cause cancer, taxation can be considered a method of cancer prevention
Alcohol • Drink containing ethanol from fermented grain; considered the world’s oldest known drug • Alcohol has been a point of contention among society since its creation • Alcohol consumption often alters an individual’s behavior
Alcohol • Studies have shown that the risk of developing cancer increases even with consumption of as little as three units of alcohol (one pint of lager or a large glass of wine) a day Images courtesy of Google Images
Taxes on alcohol • Due to Alcohol’s effect on behavior, the control of alcohol has been a point of contention in history • In most nations, an official age is established during which an individual can legally consume alcohol
Taxes on alcohol • Taxes on alcohol are common and lead to a reduction in alcohol consumption • A reduction in alcohol consumption reduces related high-risk behavior and potential cancer risk
Tanning BEds • A device which emits ultraviolet radiation to produce a cosmetic tan • Regular tanning beds use several fluorescent lamps designed to emit UV in a spectrum that is somewhat similar to the sun
Tanning beds • Have been linked to increasing the risk of skin cancers • Recently in the U.S., President Obama has placed a tax on the use of tanning beds to fund health care
Taxes and cancer prevention: an effective approach? Taxes on items that cause cancer reduce the use of these items and therefore also reduce the prevalence of cancer in society.
Taxes and cancer prevention: an effective approach? Advocates of such taxes argue that taxes on tobacco, alcohol, tanning beds, etc. subsidize public health initiatives and prevent poor habits; furthering the effort to prevent cancer.
Tobacco and other “Sin” taxes: Are they really effective? Concerns have been raised about the effectiveness of such taxes in preventing undesired behavior
Sources • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/ • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives http://www.atf.gov/ • The Tax Foundation http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/245.html