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From "Taxed" Health to Excise Tax: Ethical Accountability and the Fight for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs on the National and State Levels

Author: PATRICIA M. WIGFALL
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 27 No. 3

Government needs to take an ethical stand on the issue of
tobacco control, thereby falling in line with the public administrators,
public health advocates, and other public servants who support the
passage of excise tax legislation and local ordinances that go beyond
state preemption clean indoor air policy. That the excise tax will
generate medical and economic benefits is unquestionable. In a similar
vein, stronger local smoking bans to reduce levels of environmental
tobacco smoke (ETS) will undoubtedly carry significant import for
healthier work and leisure environments. What remains dubious is the
degree to which the public can count on government support of anti-
tobacco initiatives. A theory of administrative accountability is a
significant part of assessing an issue that has ethical as well as medical
and economic ramifications. This paper outlines the historical and
current challenges facing public servants as they wager public health
for regional economy.

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