>>"...if you care about the fiscal health of the state, why don’t you smoke?"
Dat's a good Q. And why don't antis pay EVERY utility bill for the smokers? I'm not surprised the smoking rate hasn't gone down as much as antis think. A pack could cost as much as $15. But in dis new version of prohibition, smokers will find a way to get cigs. Even if it means driving to states with lower-taxed cigs. But it seems like buying cigs outta state especially like 20-40 cartons is a crime to some authorities. I dunno if NYS does it. But I know TN is one state dat will confiscate your cartons if you cross their border line with more than two cartons.
http://riverdalepre ss.com/full. php?sid=12417¤t_edition= 2010-05-13
Proponents of raising (yet again) the cigarette tax in New York resort to the argument that higher cigarette taxes lead to a decrease in smoking. Yet even the Centers for Disease Control ( ) report that nationally, the number of smokers has remained virtually unchanged since 2004. Taxes on cigarettes have been raised substantially in New York and across the country in that time. Unless they want to argue that the smokers in lower-taxed states are taking up that much of the slack from quitters in higher-taxed states, it puts the tax argument into serious question.
Proponents also argue that the increased tax will provide the state with needed revenue that will benefit everyone. In that case, one might ask, if you care about the fiscal health of the state, why don’t you smoke?
The truth is most of the enhanced revenue will not go to healthcare that’s alleged to save money by reducing smoking. In fact, smokers pay more than their fair share already and they actually subsidize nonsmokers, according to the Congressional Research Service.
Additionally, the state receives (in perpetuity) the proceeds of the 1998 agreement between the tobacco companies and 45 states that was intended to cover the cost of treating smokers. To cover that cost of the settlement, the companies increased the price of cigarettes and passed costs on to the smoker. If the state mismanages that money why is it the responsibility of the smoker to have to pay it again … and again … and again?
Finally, it should be offensive to everyone to single-out one segment of society to bear the brunt of taxation on the contention that a strong majority of residents support this tax. That is mob rule, in light of the fact that 70 percent of the population does not smoke. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to conclude that smokers will always lose in such a poll. It’s “tax them, not me.”
It’s unconscionable to me that this passes for justification in a country where the minority is guaranteed equal protection and is not supposed to be subject to the whims of the majority.
If our elected officials want to act like true representatives of the people — not just the people who don’t smoke — they’ll agree that enough is enough and reject another cigarette tax increase.
AUDREY SILK FOUNDER, NY C C.L.A.S.H. (CITIZENS LOBBYING AGAINST SMOKER HARASSMENY)