sin tax

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A sales tax on nonessential, “health-harming” consumer goods, e.g., tobacco, alcohol, candy, or luxury goods, such as fur coats and jewels, that some people regard as “sinful” to own. The popular belief is that taxes raised by the sale of such products are earmarked for health, education, and needed social services. In reality, this rarely happens.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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