Tobacco taxes are commonly deemed regressive by policymakers, undermining efforts to fully implement tobacco taxes at levels recommended by the World Health Organization. We challenge the assumption of regressivity by exploring the variations in increased tobacco taxes across income by applying mathematical modeling and examining a number of case studies. We question the doctrine that tobacco taxes are uniformly regressive, and point to the importance of context and of the specific features of tobacco tax policy for the evaluation of the regressive or progressive nature of taxes.
Stéphane Verguet is an Assistant Professor of Global Health in the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Verguet’s multidisciplinary research focuses on health decision science and priority-setting, and the development of mathematical and computational decision-making models to better design health policies.