To all of those whining about the 62 cent raise on the cigarette tax and a whopping 40 cents for the cigar tax, which becomes effective on Wednesday, I have three words for you: Get over it.
Why so harsh? Because the money generated from the tax increase will go towards expanding children’s health care, known as the SCHIP bill and signed into law by President Obama in February. Instead of just seven million uninsured children receiving health care from the government, SCHIP has now been expanded to cover 11 million children.
But, naturally, some people are pissed. By some people I mean the tobacco companies who don’t give a you-know-what about you or your health and some really addicted smokers.
This gem of a quote came from NPR:
Customer Pat Collier of Zephyrhills, Fla., calls it a punitive tax aimed at smokers. “This is really just like the tea tax in the Revolution.”
Well…no. Because when our early American heroes, the colonists, were taxed, the money went back to the evil King George. This time around, Pat, the money will be used to help children. CHILDREN. POOR AND INNOCENT CHILDREN. Think about it. Good. Now let’s move on.
Smokers, you know the deal. The cancer sticks are bad for you, your lungs turn black and all that jazz. Maybe you are too addicted to quit, but for Pete’s sake (and Pete, by the way, is a 4-year-old with no health insurance and a life threatening illness), don’t let your addiction get in the way of helping a kid out. You chose to smoke, these kids did not choose to be uninsured.
It is a sad fact of life that prices go up all the time. The price of milk, the price of a pack of gum, even the price of the wonderful treasures at the 99 cent store. At least this time, when you pay those extra pennies, you’re doing something good.
Or maybe, just maybe, this might encourage you to quit smoking, which, you know, would be AWFUL. (But, of course, you quitting has nothing to do with why the tobacco companies are so upset.) So Joe the Smoker and others quit. Over time, the number of smoking-related illnesses and deaths decrease, which also decreases the amount of state and federal dollars used to care for these people when they are in the hospital. The taxpayer wins! Oh, and if you quit, you run less of a risk of gum disease (eww) and you won’t get that hideous smoker’s mouth with all the lines and wrinkles.
Here’s another scenario to convince you that this might just be a good thing: Raising the tax on cigarettes will give health insurance to 10 million children. Having insurance will enhance their quality of life. Healthy kids go to school. (And like School House Rock tells us, “knowledge is power!”) Healthy kids grow up to be healthy adults. Healthy adults work. The American workforce is the engine of our economy. Voila! The economy thrives!
…And I’d like to thank the Nobel committee for awarding me this most prestigious award in Economics… just kidding because really, it’s not that big of a stretch.
I’m so fortunate that my parents never had to choose between taking me to the doctor or feeding me. But there are so many children that are not as lucky as I was/am and until we have universal health care, we need to take care of the ones that need our help the most– the very old and the very young.
[Posted by Kathleen]
5 responses to “cigarette tax = healthier kids. any questions?”
just because children have no healthcare insurance that their parent are to cheap to buy for them.i have to get taxed to pay for them.bull crap.cigarettes are being taxed for all types of projects that states want to fund.and i am sure not one dime will go where it is suppose too.just lining the pockets of some rich fool politition.and for all them non smokers out there,hope ya all get cancer.for crying about smokers. this country is looking for a revolution and its going to get it. we the people are fed up with being taxed to death.no reason for all these taxes.
For the sake of discussion (and not argument), what’s the difference with this scenario and …
Putting a higher tax on alcohol consumption,
Putting a higher tax on unhealthy fast food (or any “unhealthy” food for that matter),
Putting a higher tax on electric companies because their electric lines cause cancer.
The point is that all of these have negative ramifications. I could go on and on and make the points a little more asinine. Where do we draw the line? At what point can the government tell us what we can or cannot do via the choking of our wallets… yes, a little libertarian, I know.
Caveman say smoking bad, I agree. And does secondhand smoke harm those in the vicinity, including children, husbands, wives, pets, etc.? No doubt.
And to Josh, yes there are people who are too irresponsible to provide ever-important health insurance for their kids, especially in today’s mixed up health care world. Tsk Tsk, shame on them. But there is most certainly a larger number (this is based on speculation, which I suspect your assumption was also) who grow up living in paycheck by paycheck households that direly need the little money available to eat, sleep under a roof, etc.
Some may say this cigarette tax is aiming at a poorer section of the American public, and frankly, they will probably be hurt more than the middle and upper classes. They will hurt in their pocketbooks because nicotine’s very potent addictive properties are too strong for many to subdue. One might argue that smokers’ longrun medical costs would be lower due to a healthier life style — which desperately needs to be encouraged in present-day America. Also, that extra marginal cost of the cigarette tax means absolutely nothing (I’d put “nothing” in caps if I was an overzealous blogger) to the more well to do citizen. Unfortunately, practicality vs. idealistic theory leaves much to be desired.
What do we do? Wow, with that entire diatribe now seemingly complete, I should have an answer. I don’t. Was this a worthless waste of your time? Maybe.
“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” – Socrates
What I do know is that there is less philosophical discussion about the way things should be and more combative, banter about the way people say it should be. There is so little discussion these days. Talk and be open to different opinions.
I think children are too young to be left to the will of parents who lack responsibility. But when is it ok to take from others to subsidize another’s irresponsibility?
Personally, I think more positive effects would be seen by adding another .0001% to the marginal tax rate than by doing it to smoking. Frankly, coming from a low-income family with something like a 95% rate of smoking, I would say more harm would be done to millions across the country who couldn’t stop smoking than the harm that extra tax increase would entail.
That is, if I agreed to any tax at all…
Of course I see the typos now.
Sorry that I called you Josh, John.
One more thing to clarify. This was not designed as a response to the wonderful authoress. My little essay (with little proofreading, thank you) is kind of hijacking her forum to demonstrate how I feel.
Also, I meant to say that it is only one side of my family that consists of a majority of smokers and is lower class. I obviously didn’t do the exact math. But the point was made to demonstrate that I can see what the increase could do in the long run to that demographic. Peace.
Children quickly pick up the smoking habit especially when they are growing up in a house with smokers. There are many reasons why children take to smoking like tobacco advertising, or if a sibling or a parent who smokes in front of the family, experimenting during the adolescent years.