On the narrow fiscal grounds of covering the costs smokers impose on government, further increases in tobacco excise may not be justified. At over $1.3 billion per year, tobacco excise revenues may already exceed the direct health system costs of smoking10. When the broader fiscal impacts of smoking are considered (eg shorter life expectancy reducing smokers’ superannuation and aged care costs), smokers are probably already “paying their way” in narrowly fiscal terms.I still contest that measure as it relies on an assumption that smokers otherwise would never impose end-of-life costs on health budget. I also have an OIA in for more of the background workings on the $1.9b estimate.
10. A recent Ministry of Health study estimated health costs of smoking at up to $1.9 billion per year (15% of the Vote Health). While this estimate used more detailed data analysis than previously available to estimate health costs, it is well above previous estimates (a 2007 estimate put the cost of smoking to the health system at $300-$350 million per year) and its methodology for comparing lifetime health care costs has been contested. [emphasis added]
Thursday, 24 May 2012
A switch from passive to active voice would have had me as a footnote to the tobacco excise increase RIS: