Cigarette taxes have been seen as means of discouraging smoking, raising public revenue, and achieving other worthy goals. However, some research shows that cigarette-tax increases may reach a point where they produce negative social outcomes. As the cost of cigarettes goes up, household finances are adjusted, and there is less money for other priorities in the home. This study considered whether cigarette-tax increases are associated with changes in rates of child maltreatment. It also considered whether rates of abuse and neglect are influenced by changes in another type of regressive tax, the sales tax. The findings suggest that increases in regressive taxes may be associated with increases in child maltreatment, which has direct implications for public policy.
Project: Livable Lives Initiative
McLaughlin, M. (2018). The relationship between cigarette taxes and child maltreatment. Child Abuse & Neglect, 79, 339–349. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.02.026