Monday, February 22, 2010

Bans & Sin Taxes

I know that many of us part ways when it comes to smoking bans. As I recall a majority of you where happy when the bans began rearing their ugly little heads-- touting the fact that your hair and clothes wouldn't smell like smoke --personal freedoms be damned... I know, I know...second hand smoke...blah, blah. Second hand smoke wouldn't be an issue if you were only in a bar here and there right? And maybe I don't enjoy the second hand alcohol vapors from your Jack Daniels breath and would quite enjoy an alcohol ban in bars...

Seriously though, in this horrific economy (that doesn't show much of a recovery glimmer right now) has anyone thought about the effect of these bans and these sin taxes on the economy, jobs, exports and industry? How many Americans are employed by the tobacco industry? I'm guessing a conservative guess would still put the number in the millions? Not to mention the fact that American cigarettes are an absolute delicacy abroad.

So when I read articles like this:

"...Just a year after smokers were slapped with the single largest federal tobacco tax increase ever, public health advocates are urging states to follow up with their own cigarette tax hikes to offset declining revenues lost in the recession and to press more people into giving up smoking.

A new report by a coalition of public health organizations says states could raise more than $9 billion in new annual revenue by increasing cigarette taxes by $1 per pack.

The report, "Tobacco Taxes: A Win-Win-Win for Cash-Strapped States," argues that the taxes also would cause more than 1.2 million adult smokers to quit, prevent more than 2.3 million kids from becoming smokers and save $52.8 billion in health care costs.

But critics say a cigarette tax increase would be "foolish" and that the taxes are now "way too high" and target the poor..." (source)

I never think "Woo hoo, they shouldn't be smoking anyway." I think "these so called 'health advocates' ate going to be mighty shell shocked if the tobacco industries go down. We're at 10% unemployment and states are going bankrupt and are going to be unable to pay out benefits and we have advocacy groups out there trying to collapse an industry? I just don't get it. So Darwinism doesn't apply to business I guess?

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