Health or money, that's the dilemma: Opinions on increasing the taxation of tobacco products in a sample of university students from humanistic and scientific faculties
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Sapienza Università di Roma, Rome, Italy
Publication date: 2021-12-10
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2021;7(Supplement):56
In occasion of WNTD (World No Tobacco Day) 2021, the team of UNITAB (Unit of Tobaccology of Sapienza University of Rome) ran a survey among university students to determine their smoking habits and the grade of agreement to an increase of tobacco taxation.

The survey is based on the structure of previous questionnaires that were used for WNTD 2014 and 2019, in order to compare the results. A google form was distributed among students. Analysis was focused on the question “Would you agree with a 1€ tax increase on every cigarette/tobacco pack with a prevention purpose?”. We also asked for possible motivations for the answer, divided then into three categories (ethics, economics and health).

We received 157 answers to the tax increase question, with 101 motivations given. 69.4% of the whole sample agreed with the proposal (57% among smokers/former smokers and 81% among non-smokers). The motivations given in order of importance were: economical (52,6% among the respondents), followed by ethical issues (32% of the sample) and health-related motivations (14%).

Data seem to show some grade of awareness of public health issues related to tobacco taxation among young people. However this agreement rate appears to be in contrast with previous data collected in 2014 and 2019 campaigns, this could be due to the increased risk perception related to the covid19 pandemic or to the renewed importance of the health sector because of the pandemic emergency. The fact that the majority of students agreed with the increase of the tobacco tax proposal could be a good starting point to enforce public health intervention on this topic; however it's important to underline that the economical motivation was the most common one, which could suggest that future sensibilization campaigns should concentrate more on the economical implications of smoking.

No Conflicts of Interest were reported.