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CIGARETTES: Politicians blowing smoke

Letter by Jack T. Moore, Lacey on April 9, 2012 at 11:48 am with 12 Comments »
April 9, 2012 2:18 pm

Re: “Roll-your-own smokes tax has retailers fuming” (TNT, 4-2).

Once again, under the guise of saving us from ourselves and caring about our health, the state government has found a way to take more of our money. More taxes. House Bill 2565 would increase taxes on roll-your-own cigarettes. Prices would go from $34.50 to $67.60 a carton, a nice increase.

Our politicians have never seen a tax they didn’t like. We have a case of Big Tobacco along with Big Government attempting to squash the so called competition by taking big money from low-income smokers. What a bunch of bullies.

I thought these politicians were always looking out for the little guy, but I guess not. If you follow their logic, they should add additional taxes to the coffee we buy at the store because some people have espresso machines at home and will use them to cheat Starbucks out of some of its profit. People who roll-their-own are cutting out the middle man – what’s wrong with that?

Things do not happen in a vacuum. If government massively increases taxes, smokers will modify their habit, giving less money to the government. We’re told this is all about fairness and public health. Give me a break. This is all about more money for the government. I know this bill is wrong, and I’m not a smoker.

Leave a comment Comments → 12
  1. MarksonofDarwin says:

    I understand what you’re saying, and I agree as far as the taxes go, but this bill is not really about taxes at all.

    This is simply the government protecting the government sponsored pseudo monopoly for the “big 3″ tobacco companies. Eliminating their competition is the number one goal….the extra taxes are just icing on the cake. That is, until every one of the roll your own businesses have gone under….and then it’s just business as usual beyond that…

  2. The tax helps cover the eventual cost to the state that smokers create. Why shouldn’t smokers pay their own way?

  3. Theefrinker says:

    It’s always cracked me up how this country wouldn’t even exist without tobacco, and now we crucify people for buying it, using it, or promoting it.

  4. alindasue says:

    Theefrinker said, “It’s always cracked me up how this country wouldn’t even exist without tobacco…”

    By that reasoning, this country wouldn’t exist without the slaves brought in to cheaply harvest the tobacco… but that doesn’t make slavery right.

  5. MarksonofDarwin says:

    It’s a morbid fact of life that because of smoker’s shortened lives, they are a net benefit to our tax system.
    They pay more in than they take out.

    That’s not to say that people shouldn’t quit smoking….they should, but it’s a decision only they can make.
    We certainly shouldn’t be in the business of “punishing” them for doing something that we disagree with. Puritanism pervades both the left and the right…

  6. Frankenchrist says:

    Big Tobacco corporations are behind this tax. They don’t want any competition from small entrepreneurs.

  7. It’s a morbid fact of life that because of smoker’s shortened lives, they are a net benefit to our tax system.
    They pay more in than they take out.

    Not meaning to be snarky about this but I have to wonder: Is this “fact” based upon any evidence or just an assumption? I would think that the costs of emphysema and lung cancer treatments, fire damage (sleeping in bed), etc. would have to be figured into the final cost/benefit analysis.

  8. Puritanism pervades both the left and the right…

    I guess that demonstrates that we all share the same cultural heritage!

  9. averageJoseph says:

    Smoking and driving have something in common. When people quit smoking, drive less, and mpg increases, the governemt will hit you up somewhere else to replace the lost tax revenue.

    I can see it now, after mandatory healthcare is fully implemented and you go to your mandatory yearly exam and they perform your annual mandatory lung volume test you will be assesed for your individual CO2 discharge. (yes, sarcasm)

  10. itwasntmethistime says:

    beerBoy — Most people die from health ailments which are expensive to treat for everybody. I don’t think it costs more for end-of-life treatment for smokers. Smokers tend to die younger which means while they contributed to social security and medicare for just as long, they don’t draw from them as long.

  11. MarksonofDarwin says:


    There’s been a few studies done on this. Here’s the first link I came across:


    “And given the approximately 30 billion packs of cigarettes smoked a year in the United States, smokers pay $15.9 billion more than would be necessary if we were to follow the principle that people should pay for the costs they impose on others. In effect, smokers pay taxpayers for the right to smoke, in addition to the savings they create for taxpayers by dying early.”

    I find this subject fascinating in that it’s the perfect example of Bertrand Russell’s description of a “herd mentality”

    And yes…everyone has a bit of puritanism in them. Including those savvy, bohemian hipsters like me!

    **Wait. Maybe I’m thinking of someone else**

  12. I assume the same probably holds true for most sin taxes (liquor, gambling) – it is a “politically correct” tax as there is a moral stance against the activity (with some truth behind it as there are very real costs involved to those who participate, their families, and bystanders) and it is optional – not necessary.

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