Tag Archives: black market

Sunday Science Lesson: Efforts to lower quality of tobacco products are poor substitutes for taxes

by Carl V Phillips

I am back from Italy and the GTNF2015, and mostly recovered. I have more to say about that meeting, particularly posting the content of my talk, and a backlog of a dozen unrelated or semi-related posts I want to write. Not knowing where to start, and it being Sunday, I will go for a science lesson. And, yes, I know I am in the middle of a science lesson series (and being a proper scholar, I am also in the middle of numerous other series) — next week, I hope.

I went to an interesting session about “plain products”, which was a cryptic way of referring to the intentional lowering of the quality of products, using anything from unattractive packaging, to limitations on flavoring, to lowering nicotine concentration. Interestingly, none of the presenters actually came out and said “lowering the quality of products” until I pushed them to adopt such plain language in the Q&A. I suppose their oft-repeated “affecting the value proposition” is the British synonym for that more pointed American phrase. But the former just does not seem to make it clear enough that these tactics are about lowering the benefits that are experienced by consumer — i.e., intentionally hurting consumers in order to manipulate their behavior. Continue reading

Snus in Finland, a brief follow-up

by Carl V Phillips

A few days ago, I mentioned (buried in a longer analysis of another topic) Brad Rodu’s post that reported an estimate of the additional smoking in Finland caused by the EU snus ban. A recent news article (h/t SnusCentral; note that I have not been able to find a more complete source for the results that are reported) reports that personal importation of snus into Finland has increased remarkably in the last year. This is seriously good news for THR in more ways than one. Continue reading