“First, Do No Harm”: Have the Health Impacts of Government Bills on Tax Legislation Been Assessed in Finland?

Document Type: Short Communication

Authors

1 Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland

2 Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

3 Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Tampere, Finland.

Abstract

As taxation is one of the key public policy domains influencing population health, and as there is a legal, strategic, and programmatic basis for health impact assessment (HIA) in Finland, we analyzed all 235 government bills on tax legislation over the years 2007–2014 to see whether the health impacts of the tax bills had been assessed. We found that health impacts had been assessed for 13 bills, bills dealing with tobacco, alcohol, confectionery, and energy legislation and that four of these impact assessments included impacts on health inequalities between social classes. Based on our theoretical classification, the health impacts of 40 other tax bills should have been evaluated.

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