Light Up Quick! Proposed Tax Would Make Smoking More Expensive
by Byrne Hobart
Imagine, for a second, that you’re a smoker, which, if you’re a smoker, should be easy. You’ve triumphed over brownish teeth and the lingering stench of stale smoke. You’ve bravely ignored the highly increased risk of lung cancer in the noble pursuit of having something to do with hands while you drink.
What’s your reward? Finding out that people are overwhelmingly in favor of making your addictive and potentially deadly habit MORE expensive.
67% of voters favor a $1 tax per pack of cigarettes, according to a report from the Robert Wood Johnson foundation. Voters far prefer this tax to budget cuts or other tax increases. The report indicates that states could raise up $9 billion to help counter the large deficits many are facing.
Additionally, the report, Tobacco Taxes: A Win-Win-Win for Cash-Strapped States, found that the tax would prevent children from picking up smoking. “Win-win-win” refers to the three benefits of the proposed new tax: more money (52.8 billion saved in health care costs), fewer young smokers (2.3 million kids prevented from starting smoking) and widespread political support (voters support a pro-tax candidate 59-35).
The measure fared particularly well when compared with other health conscious methods for fund-raising, including charging a large one-time fee for Russian Roulette, and making parachute-less skydiving punishable by large fine.