Lifestyle Economics

Sin taxes fall heaviest on those who can least afford them

Christopher Snowdon writes for City AM

Christopher Snowdon, Head of Lifestyle Economics at the IEA, has written an article for City AM on a recent study claiming that “90 per cent of all “sin taxes” on tobacco, alcohol and soft drinks in the US are paid by just 20 per cent of households. Eighty per cent of the taxes are paid by just ten per cent of households.”

Christopher argues that these statistics highlight the extreme disproportionate effect that taxes on supposed sins have on the poorest in society, regardless if they engage in such activites or not.

“These people ‘“tend to be disproportionately from the lowest levels of income and education, white, and older”, but that is almost beside the point. It is a lazy generalisation to claim that poor people smoke cigarettes, drink lots of booze and guzzle fizzy drinks.”

“In Britain, the lowest socio-economic group has the highest rate of teetotalism and more than 70 per cent of people from all classes are nonsmokers. We are talking about a minority within a minority.”

Read the full article here.