A Cigarette Tax is a Bad Idea.

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Addiction is a disease. A person’s chemical make-up is changed when they are addicted, whether the addiction is heroin, gambling, sex or cigarettes it does not matter.

There are physical addictions and mental addictions, both being hard to break. Physical addiction means you essentially need this chemical to continue, without it you are sick, angry and hostile. Heroin and cigarettes are two examples of drugs where people become physically addicted.

When people are deprived of these chemicals they experience withdrawals.

We have a group of people addicted to a certain item that is sold for a profit by a big corporation. These people might even want to stop smoking, but they can’t. Many states and the federal government has made the argument that taxing cigarettes is acceptable, as with most ‘sin’ taxes. If people don’t want to spend the extra few bucks on cigarettes each day then they will stop smoking.

There are a few reasons to think this is a bad tax.

  1. It picks on a specific group of people who are addicted.
  2. It is regressive. A majority of cigarette smokers are lower or middle class.
  3. It doesn’t work in the long term as people will start to smuggle in cigarettes from places where they cost less.

The argument in favor of a cigarette tax says that smoking is bad for you and costs tax payers tons of money down the road in health costs.

That got me thinking about other areas where tax payers are unduly burdened by similar habits.

If you think a cigarette tax is a good tax because of the health benefits, then you surely must agree with these taxes.

–          Businesses who make people sit for too long cause tax payer’s money in the long term because their employees are not healthy and active.

–          Buses running diesel downtown and bus riders supporting these buses should be taxed. Diesel is a carcinogen, like nicotine, and is forcibly inhaled when a bus drives by. You may not even realize how much particulate matter you are inhaling.

–          What about people who eat fast food. They are generally unhealthy which in turns costs the US tax payer more money. Especially since fast food places tend to be in lower class areas where people are more likely to not have health insurance.

–           Then we have the people who run or bike outside. They could easily get hurt and cost tax payer’s money.

–          Then there are coal power plants that pollute quite a bit. That particulate matter again.

–          Mining operations decrease safety of our water supply and lead to great pollution.

–          People who hunt should be taxed because the lead shot could hurt people who eat their food.

–          Dog owners, because dog poop can carry disease and lead to sickness. Not to mention dog bites.

–          Cat owners, toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that is attaching to many cat owners and changing their personalities. This could lead to a planet of the cats or also to increase hospital visits.

–          People with religious beliefs cost tax payers tons of money as churches dont pay taxes.  But, the people who go to these churches use our roads, electric grids, and water and sewer systems quite a bit. Not to mention that their religious beliefs could lead to some not getting vaccines, this in-turn could lead to more people getting sick.

I am someone who simply wishes that everyone pays their fair share.  If you use the road more than others then paying more taxes sounds fair, same with electricity, gasoline and other non-essential items.

This debate can be summed up easily in one question, should we make lower income people pay more than their fair share in taxes by taxing cigarettes?

How are you impacted by a cigarette tax?

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