World Trade: Tobacco's Taxing Dilemma

The world's tax collectors owe a great debt to Britain's wily King James I, who in 1604 concocted that subtle fiscal burden, the tobacco tax. Practically every modern government depends on taxes from tobacco for a large share of its income, and dozens have gone a step farther to create huge tobacco monopolies that provide revenue while making work for millions of farmers, factory hands, salesmen and bureaucrats. With evidence mounting that smoking causes cancer and heart disease, many governments are now faced with a dilemma: whether to put public health ahead of fiscal health and discourage the smoking...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!