Acta Médica Costarricense
version ISSN 0001-6012
MONGE BONILLA, M. Cecilia. Tobacco Economics. Acta méd. costarric [online]. 2012, vol.54, n.1, pp. 8-14. ISSN 0001-6012.
Sound medical evidence testifies that tobacco use and inhaling “secondhand” smoke from cigarettes raises the risk of morbidity, mortality and disability. Tobacco use is a major worldwide public health issue. Many countries still hesitate to act decisively to reduce tobacco, because they are concerned that the harm caused by tobacco may be offset by the economic benefits that the country derives from tobacco. The production, export and import of tobacco and tobacco products make up an insignificant part of Costa Rica’s economy. The concern that tobacco controls will cause permanent job losses in an economy is not the case in most countries. Falling demand for tobacco does not mean a fall in a country’s total employment level. Money that smokers once spent on cigarettes would instead be spent on other goods and services, generating other jobs. Evidence from countries of all income levels shows that price increases on cigarettes are highly effective in reducing demand. Higher taxes induce some smokers to quit and prevent other individuals from starting, especially young citizens. Another concern is that higher taxes will lead to massive increases in smuggling but the evidence shows that, even where smuggling occurs at high rates, tax increases bring greater revenues and reduce consumption.Smuggling is directly associated with the corruption level of each country.Experience in high and middle-income countries shows that strict tobacco control with smoke free policies do not have a negative economic impact in the hospitality industry both in net economic gains and employment levels.
Keywords : tobacco control; smoke free laws; economic evaluation; Costa Rica; World Health Organization; Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.