I, for one, would be the first person to say that smoking is a terrible and disgusting habit. I hate being near people who smoke and I hate having to walk through it because those people refuse to move more than 5 feet away from the doors of my work. My lungs can’t handle it and I get coughing fits if I am near someone smoking. I am saying this just to explain my view on smoking. The tax increase is proposed to dissuade individuals from smoking and hopefully make people quit. The idea is great, but, I don’t believe that it will make people quit. It would make it less likely for individuals to get started (in my opinion) because of the cost but, in the end, if someone wants to smoke, they will find a way to do it. It is an addiction, just like alcohol and cocaine. While some people see smoking as disgusting and a choice (including myself, to a point), there is the fact that nicotine is addictive and quitting is hard. It started as a choice and after the first few or the first pack, it become a habit and then an addiction. An addiction is something that you cannot go without; something that you must have to make it through the day. Instead of seeing smoking as an addiction, I believe we need to start viewing it as an actual addiction and something that causes so many health problems to the smokers and people nearby. I think that a tax is just going to give the state more money, but it won’t get to the root of the problem.
And, if we go as far as to tax cigarettes, we might as well place a higher tax on things that contribute to obesity. Foods containing certain ingredients or combinations of ingredients should be taxed higher than fruits and vegetables. If we want to get ridiculous, we should raise the taxes on couches, televisions and video gaming systems. Taxing something won’t fix it. It will provide more money for the state but it won’t treat the real problem.
I read in a comment of an article on this topic, that this would take away freedom. I completely disagree. A tax on something doesn’t take away a freedom; you could still smoke if you wanted to but it will cost more money. It is still your decision, your money and your health. Taking away a freedom would mean making it illegal. And the tax isn’t going to do that.
I wish that smoking was illegal and I wish that it wasn’t a problem and a leading cause of many health issues. I wish I didn’t ever have to smell smoke. Perhaps, if they did tax cigarettes, the extra taxes collected should be used to treat those who have issues related to second-hand smoke. Doing that would at least help those who didn’t do anything wrong and have to pay for other people’s addictions. But by just giving the money back to the state, I can’t see this getting off the ground.