Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wow, Yet Another Reason

This is less about my experience on Chantix or quitting smoking and more about cigarette taxes. I'm adding this to my list of reasons why I'm so very glad I've quit smoking.

Tom sent me an article yesterday about Senate's proposed legislation for a $0.61 tax increase per pack of cigarettes for more funding for children's health insurance. I had kind of glanced over it, but I took a second look when we got talking about it today (a conversation prompted by a memo from the apartment that included some other tidbits related to residents having to stand 25 feet away from the building to smoke - who knew? - OK, add another reason I'm glad I don't smoke anymore), and Tom mentioned what the article had to say about the number of people who stop smoking with heavy tax increases on the habit:

From the article Tom sent me:
According to the Campaign [for Tobacco-Free Kids], youth smoking drops by seven percent with every ten percent rise in the tax, and overall cigarette consumption declines by about four percent. The proposed 61 cent increase would effectively prevent nearly 1.9 million kids from picking up the habit and help around 1.2 million adults kick it for good.
Wow. That's good, right? Yes, that's good.

And yet, on the other hand, aside from wondering whether the above is actually true or not (I never completely trust statistics outside of further context), I always thought it seemed kind of crazy and even unfair how much a pack of cigarettes has gone up in my lifetime due to taxes compared to other things. It seemed that a disproportionate amount of tax was being placed on smokers alone as sort of a piƱata that could just continually have the stuffing beat out of it because there's always just a little more in there between willingness to pay anything to keep smoking and a sense of guilt that smokers do put such a strain on health care costs.

I can't help but wonder, if it is true that more people quit when the cigarette tax reaches a new level of crazy high, then wouldn't we be left eventually with that last way smaller hardcore group of smokers that could somehow afford something like $20/pack, and then would it finally seem more fair to share the burden of taxes a little more equitably instead of still targeting that one group so endlessly? Or would they just start paying $50/pack?

The whole thing is nutty. I mean I'm not at all against taxing smokers, and if it forces more smokers into the life of freedom from the addiction, then that really could be a good thing because cost was also on my list of reasons to quit, but I also think that there is a line somewhere that is too easy to cross over into no longer fair because smokers are such an easy target. And...

And then I ran across Cranky Daze's Time to Quit post (it gets political and Bushy Bashy over there, because, well, it's a political blog, so be forewarned and don't go if you are "politically sensitive" to that or whatever). The post spelled out perfectly and in an entertaining way just how I felt about "yes, absolutely do tax smokers, but also be a little reasonable in doing it, too," and he implored those pissed off about paying so much cigarette tax to fight back... by maybe giving Chantix a try and quitting smoking.

Awesome. I'm 30 days into doing my part to fight back, and I'm a happy girl.

Side note: Am I the only one who didn't know that Laura Bush likely still smokes?


  1. And look at the money you have already saved!!! Add to that the gum and mints we bought to cover up the smell. I really liked your post from the day before as it brings one back to reality.

  2. Hmm, laura Bush still smokes? Not surpised. She and Dubya probably go on benders and chainsmoke and blow lines all night long. Then in the morning, someone shoves a speech into Bush's hands and pushes him out into the world. *sigh* Sorry, don't meant to get all Bush Bashy right here on your blog... hehe

  3. In the end it doesn't really seem fair but then there is a way for smokers to somewhat get out of paying the stupid taxes as well. You can buy tobacco to roll your own online and avoid many of the taxes.

    I remember reading somewhere a couple days ago that there was talk (in the UK maybe) about putting a tax on junk food. Can you imagine if we did that here? What you really want that bag of potato chips?? That will be $5.00!! Why is it that people are so okay with singling out smokers for increased taxes? Now if they started a Chantix tax fund to cover the cost of it for all of us whose insurance doesn't cover the drug that might be a different thing. But quitting smoking is hard and it is sad but probably true that there are those smokers who are for whatever reasons having a hard enough time even contemplating quitting that they very well may pay $50.00 a pack just to continue smoking.

    Anyhow I will stop ranting... even being a non-smoker now it just pisses me off how much smokers end up getting singled out.

  4. Yep, all, definitely glad I went ahead and quit and that you're all in the same boat with me ;)


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