Raise the cigarette tax again?

June 5, 2008
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Health advocates beamed with a â??told-you-soâ?? response this week when state officials announced that cigarette sales dropped dramatically after taxes were raised last July.

Sales fell nearly 18 percent, apparently a direct result of boosting the tax 44 cents to a total of 99.5 cents per pack.

The drop was predictable, advocates insisted, and Indiana University pulmonologist Stephen J. Jay says itâ??s time to raise the tax again.

He says mountains of research show a relationship thatâ??s nearly impossible to refute: The higher the tax, the fewer youth who start smoking and the more adults who cut back on the habit.

Backers of last yearâ??s tax increase wanted to shoot for a total tax of $1.50 to $2 per pack, and lawmakers should reconsider the higher figures, Jay says.

Indianaâ??s per-pack tax ranks 27th, well below the $2.75 in New York but pricey compared to the 7-cent rate in the tobacco center of South Carolina. The national average is $1.25.

What do you think? If the tax increase created such good results, should it be raised again?
  • Whip it good! Whip it till it hurts!
  • Taxing cigarettes is a regressive tax on the poor.
  • Are these people serious? How about taxing the health advocates for who come up with these insane tax bills for others - or would that be just like taxing the taxpayers who pay their salaries.

    It is not that smokers numbers have dropped less - it is that you can have cigarettes picked up from neighboring states a lot cheaper. Not to mention the NO TAX at the PX.

    The so-called health advocates need to do some serious soul searching on this tax implication as well as any other taxes they are considering levying. As a matter of fact here are some serious items to barter about:

    Affordable & Reliable Health Care
    Sky rocketing Health Care Cost (on the agenda for years & still no fix)
    Health Care Cost associated with obesity (some of you health care advocates)
    Prescription drugs at cost + 10% mark up (instead of the 500%)
    Transportation ran on H2O (clean air = cleaner bills of health)
    Pure Water (instead of treated water on steroids)

    just to name a few.
  • So much for land of the free.

    What happened to a consumer's personal responsibility? Heart disease and obesity are the #1 killers in America. Why not tax McDonalds until people can't afford Big Macs? Because this is AMERICA! YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE YOUR OWN DECISIONS AND DETERMINE YOUR OWN DESTINY!

    This bumbling bureaucracy taxes your personal consumption decisions in order to subsidize a massive welfare state that just keeps growing, and growing, and growing...
  • n_!^&svm89ommdiioio.,.)#^&*...........NO!
  • I agree with Oduben on this one.
    I think a tax on stupidity would yield a much larger return but who could we appoint as the offical judge?
    Progressives want to tax anything they don't approve of out of existence. Fried food certainly is in line, as is red meat. Pretty soon it will be our thoughts that will be targeted for taxation.
    Let them start their own country somewhere else and see how long they last.
  • Fine, don't tax cigarettes. But all smokers should be denied health insurance. Why should I subsidize your health care?

    In the Immortal words of Tex Williams:

    SMOKE!SMOKE!SMOKE! That Cigarette....
    SMOKE!SMOKE!SMOKE! Until you puff yourself to death!
    When you see Saint Peter at the Golden Gates, you just have to make him wait...

    You gotta have another cigarette!
  • SFJ seems to think smokers should be denied health insurance - frankly, I'm tired of subsidising all fat people.
  • Smokers do pay higher premiums so insurance companies account for them. Insurance companies must still make a profit off smokers or they wouldn't insure them. Healthy people susidize all unhealthy people (or elderly people for that matter) when it comes to insurance, would you prefer to deny them insurance as well? The problem with smokers is that you can't prove that they got lung disease because they smoked, it is only more likely that that is what happened.
  • Increasing the cigarette tax not only motivates current smokers to quit, it also deters children from starting because they become too expensive to buy. If Indiana continues to increase the cigarette tax, as we should, we will see increased revenue and decreased smoking rates. The goal is to reduce cigarette consumption; passing tax increases is one of the most effective ways to achieve this goal. Using cigarette tax dollars to fund tobacco education and healthcare programs is a good way to combat the effect that smoking has on our society right now while at the same time decreasing the long tem impact of smoking related diseases.
  • Sump:

    Every individual has the responsibility to decide to smoke or not. The government should not be deciding what people should do with their lives by deciding what is right or what is wrong. By taxing it all you do is create a higher demand for a black market for cigarettes and encourage people to go to other states to buy them as another poster brought up. If the government is truly serious about getting rid of smoking, why not just make it illegal? It has to do with one thing: $$$$$
  • sfj: You're right. Health insurance should be completely self-subsidized. I fully accept all the consequences of my actions, physical and financial, and no other person on Earth should have to contribute to my health care.

    The US government has three Constitutional responsibilities: to protect life, liberty, and property from those who would infringe on them. The US government was not, and should not, be intended to protect you from yourself. That's the responsibility of you and your loved ones. If you decide to smoke, drink, eat fatty foods, or not wear your seat belt, it's none of my business! By your same line of reasoning we should tax Burger King and Twinkies until they simply could not be afforded.
  • I think higher taxes on them are a good idea. The thing that smokers seem to forget is that their habit not only affects them it affects anyone in their vicinity. I've had asthama all my life and I can't count how many times someone else's habit has caused me an asthma attack. It's much better now that restaurants don't allow it and even some bars of their own accord have gone nonsmoking and I love it! I can go out and see a band and not get sick or go home without smelling like an ash tray.

    A person eating a big mac has no impact on my health whatsoever, but a person blowing smoke outside the office, hospital, restaurant does.

    People claim the cigarette tax is a tax on the poor. Maybe we should be asking why so many supposedly poor people are smoking anyway. I love cable tv, but when I was poor I couldn't afford it, so I didn't have it. Cigarettes and alcohol are two things that are not necessities in anyone's life. They're wants. I would support a higher tax on alcohol if it would be used for programs to help alcoholics and drunk driving education.
  • Firewoman:

    It’s much better now that restaurants don’t allow it [smoking] It's not that restaurants don't allow it, it's that the government put a gun to the heads of all restaurant owners and forcibly made them ban it. So rather than the consumer deciding the government has decided for you, how convenient.

    I would support a higher tax on alcohol if it would be used for programs to help alcoholics and drunk driving education. It is not the government's responsibility to rob its citizens so that it can pay for programs to help people. People are perfectly capable of making this decision themselves.

    Would you be in support of higher taxes on fast food or desserts to pay for weight loss programs? Those surely are wants and not needs. What about taxes on internet service to be used to help victims of identity theft? The internet is surely a want and not a need.
  • E 101 - Um... yeah, I know it's a law thanks for pointing that out. I appreciate that law as it protects my rights. I don't want the smoke coming out of your dirty, nicotine crusted mouth blowing into my lungs. What's so hard for you to understand about that? I have the right to go places and do things without having to worry that someone else is going to give me an asthma attack. Maybe if you ever had a severe asthma attack you would understand my point of view. I've nearly died twice from it and gasping for air is not so much fun.

    People using the internet do not affect my personal health, people eating fattening foods do not affect my personal health. People smoking do, as do morons who drink and drive, as they have the potential to injure or kill me. That was my point. When you lump all the other things in there that you just did, it's a sad and pathetic argument. It's a health issue that affects us all not just the person with a bad habit.

    If you don't want to pay the tax, then quit smoking.
  • Firewoman: Eating fattening foods can affect those around you. Have you ever
    sat next to an obese person at a concert, stadium or in an airplane. The Internet
    can also affect others. Identity theft is rampant. The problem with targeting one
    group is the slippery slope theory. Where does it stop? Do you now tax those
    that engage in dangerous after-work activities such as rock climbing, sky diving
    or driving a fast car? The problem is that you may be next...
  • Firewoman:

    I have the right to go places and do things without having to worry that someone else is going to give me an asthma attack. You absolutely have that right. So why didn't you just go to places where that wouldn't happen? If you have asthma so bad that second hand smoke can bring you near to death then why on earth would you go to a place like that? Shouldn't you take some responsibility for your own actions? Thank goodness the government has stepped in and protected you from making stupid decisions.

    ...as do morons who drink and drive, So the issue is drinking and driving. Not alcahol itself. That is a completely different issue. There are plenty of people that drink but don't drive (even alcoholics). So are you intent on preventing those that consume alcohol responsibly from paying the price for those that choose (key word here) to use irresponsibly. I am all for preventing drunk drivers, and the government has EVERY responsibility to protect people from them.
  • Let me rephrase this: So are you intent on making those that consume alcohol responsibly pay the same price for those that choose (key word here) to use alcohol irresponsibly.
  • yes. lets tax one of the oldest products in which helped America build our economy (tobacco for those who don't know what I am talking about). While they are at it, can they tax anything that is cotton made or (associated with it), how about e85 tax gouging, since it has Corn (another product in this gas). Or an booze tax, since the booze is made in US.

    I am not saying that taxes are a bad thing, i just would like to see the true budget reports on where our taxes are really going. I wouldn't doubt that most of the current money goes to things we don't need. Without knowing where it is going, we can easily say that we have a Over-taxation, w/o proper representation
  • The second-hand smoke scare is one of the biggest scams ever perpetrated on the global consumer (I wanted to say American, but I fear it's more wide-spread). Fear mongering at the expense of economic freedom.

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