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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Political/War Lounge > $2-per-pack cigarette tax increase - Good idea?

$2-per-pack cigarette tax increase - Good idea?
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vmpaul
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Feb 3, 2004, 07:43 PM
 
From here :
Four former surgeons general on Tuesday unveiled a plan to reduce smoking that included a $2-per-pack tax they predicted would prompt at least 5 million smokers to quit.

They also called for a nationwide counseling and support line for smokers trying to quit, an idea that immediately was put into practice by Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.

It also urges that the cigarette excise tax be raised from the current 39 cents to $2.39, of which 50 percent of the proceeds -- or $14 billion -- would go toward paying for the various aspects of the plan.
Don't think they have any power to make this happen. Not sure if the the current regime agrees with this either.

Sounds kind of radical to me.
The only thing that I am reasonably sure of is that anybody who's got an ideology has stopped thinking. - Arthur Miller
     
Twilly Spree
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Feb 3, 2004, 07:47 PM
 
bad idea.
     
BRussell
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Feb 3, 2004, 08:12 PM
 
I thought they already had been increased by several dollars over the past 15-20 years.

In some ways I like the idea of sin taxes. Imagine a tax system like this: No income/investment/corporate taxes at all, but very high taxes on silly behavioral choices, like smoking, bad foods, gambling/lotteries, SUVs, etc. Kinda like we do with tobacco now.

1. You don't have to pay taxes if you make certain choices. Right now, you have to pay taxes on income, period. With this, you could change your behavior to affect your taxes directly.
2. It would be essentially a sales tax, which could encourage savings and discourage consumption.
3. Destructive behaviors could be discouraged.
4. You could have an independent/scientific review board decide what's bad and how bad.

OK, it's some serious nanny-state-ism, but on the other hand it wouldn't be forcing people to stop smoking or driving SUVs, it would just make you pay more if you choose to do it. You could even make more stuff legal, like drugs, prostitution, SUVs (oh, are those legal now?), and all that, and then just tax the hell out of them.
     
GG Allin
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Feb 3, 2004, 08:24 PM
 
Good idea and they should do the same thing with marijuana. Use pot as a test case for a period of years and see what happens. If everybody starts getting high in the bathrooms at work then I was wrong and it was a bad idea. I take responsibility for my actions ulike Bushie Boy.
     
vmpaul  (op)
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Feb 3, 2004, 08:26 PM
 
I was amazed the other day when I happened to notice how much a carton of cigarettes is. I'm a non-smoker but I remember buying friends and relatives cartons when I was growing up.

Anyways, the price is $44 a carton today. I remember when it was $15-$20 a carton. I usually don't pay attention to it. I'm pretty sure most of that is taxes. That's pretty outrageous.

I guess it depends on where you lie philosophically. Do you believe in freedom and personal choice or are you in favor of a nanny-state as BRussell calls it.
The only thing that I am reasonably sure of is that anybody who's got an ideology has stopped thinking. - Arthur Miller
     
nonhuman
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Feb 3, 2004, 08:53 PM
 
It is not the government's job to decide what people can and can't do to their own bodies. That's all this is. The government is trying to make our decisions for us, and I, for one, think it, and all other sin taxes, are a horrible idea and should be gotten rid of for got.
     
spacefreak
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Feb 3, 2004, 08:59 PM
 
This, and other recent cigarette tax hikes, hurt the poor and lower-middle class smokers more than anything else. Addiction is a nasty thing, and when money is tight, those addicted will go as far as to forgo food to satisfy their addiction.

Those who are well off have no worries (fiscally). They'll continue to indulge, maintain their health benefits, pay a bit more for life insurance, etc.

The poor are the ones suffering here. And, as with all addictions, telling smokers to "just quit" is not the solution, nor is sucking a a couple thousand dollars out of them in additional annual taxes.

And if they'll forgo food for their nicotine, they sure as hell will forgo health insurance - adding yet another burden on the state.

I'd rather see all tobacco taxes dropped, and mandate that all those who wish to purchase tobacco have an active health insurance policy. That way, it's cheaper for everyone involved.

Or just make it illegal. But the poor addictees are hurting enough.
     
Saddam H.
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Feb 3, 2004, 09:16 PM
 
Price it higher every year. You infidels smoke, then you get lung cancer or emphysema and you're too poor or too cheap to pay for the treatment, which means you leach off the taxpayers' (i.e., my) dime. If you wanna smoke, I say the money in cigarette taxes be put away and then you can pay for your own smoking-induced illnesses later.
     
FeLiZeCaT
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Feb 3, 2004, 09:17 PM
 
or provide free/low-cost programs to quit smoking.

the benefit on the health system would be great.
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Clone two
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Feb 3, 2004, 09:32 PM
 
Me, I believe that these surgeons have good direction enormously.


But, not to forget the company, 50 years ago.... it gave a
thing also.. smoke!! smoke!.

I do not like the cigarette..

But.... you want to change what a company has to give!!! the
individual who.. was betrayed!

as to date, in the content.

afflicted.
     
Spliffdaddy
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Feb 3, 2004, 09:44 PM
 
Anybody remember Joycelyn Elders?

Now you know why the position of 'Surgeon General' is the biggest joke around.
     
ghost_flash
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Feb 3, 2004, 09:50 PM
 
Originally posted by Spliffdaddy:
Anybody remember Joycelyn Elders?

Now you know why the position of 'Surgeon General' is the biggest joke around.
Make it $3.00 per pack, make them pay for
the entire Healthcare problem.

I quit.
...
     
BRussell
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Feb 3, 2004, 09:57 PM
 
Originally posted by vmpaul:
I guess it depends on where you lie philosophically. Do you believe in freedom and personal choice or are you in favor of a nanny-state as BRussell calls it.
I guess it depends on how you frame it. Sin taxes seem manipulative, but on the other hand, if you reduce compulsory taxes on things like income, a sales tax system is less coercive because you actually have choice in what taxes you pay.

Spacefreak has a very good point though, that sin taxes probably hit the poor hardest, and sales taxes are already regressive.

Originally posted by Spliffdaddy:
Anybody remember Joycelyn Elders?
Isn't she the one who wanted to reduce taxes on masturbation?
     
Saddam H.
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Feb 3, 2004, 09:58 PM
 
Originally posted by Clone two:
Me, I believe that these surgeons have good direction enormously.


But, not to forget the company, 50 years ago.... it gave a
thing also.. smoke!! smoke!.

I do not like the cigarette..

But.... you want to change what a company has to give!!! the
individual who.. was betrayed!

as to date, in the content.

afflicted.
What's with all the incoherent dweebs around here lately?

Everytime I turn around it's like I'm reading another 'swrate' post.
     
Krusty
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Feb 3, 2004, 10:04 PM
 
Originally posted by Saddam H.:
Price it higher every year. You infidels smoke, then you get lung cancer or emphysema and you're too poor or too cheap to pay for the treatment, which means you leach off the taxpayers' (i.e., my) dime. If you wanna smoke, I say the money in cigarette taxes be put away and then you can pay for your own smoking-induced illnesses later.
pfffftt ... y'know, obesity related health costs surpassed smoking related health costs last year (for the first time ... but probably not the last as Americans are still getting fatter but the percentage of smokers isn't increasing). Do we start taxing donuts and cheeseburgers more ? And gas taxes are relatively cheap in the US compared to other Western countries ... do we raise taxes on this to the detriment of people who have long commutes and benefit of people who have a good option for public transportation ? What about alchohol ? ... causes lots of preventable deaths.

My point: "lifestyle" taxes are always a little sketchy ... seems to put extra large burdens on people who do things that others don't like. Besides ... what if it works (reduces smoking drastically ?) Then your tax base erodes and you are forced to find new revenue again somehow. What "unsavory" lifestyle choice do you decide to tax then ?
     
nonhuman
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Feb 3, 2004, 10:06 PM
 
Originally posted by Saddam H.:
What's with all the incoherent dweebs around here lately?

Everytime I turn around it's like I'm reading another 'swrate' post.
Well, his location says he's from Quebec. Given that, it's not unreasonable to assume his first language is French and his English isn't so good. From the sound of it his post was probably translated by a computer.
     
Saddam H.
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Feb 3, 2004, 10:09 PM
 
Originally posted by nonhuman:
Well, his location says he's from Quebec. Given that, it's not unreasonable to assume his first language is French and his English isn't so good. From the sound of it his post was probably translated by a computer.
I certainly understand the difficulties of acquiring English language skills, but if someone isn't up to snuff, they don't need to post.
     
osiris
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Feb 3, 2004, 10:10 PM
 
...Then a 'dangerous' tax should be applied to cars, and yet more tax added to booze too, and a fat tax for those FAT MOFOS buying Big Macs at Mc Lardass, heck, tax the living crap out of everything bad for your health but yet provides a fleeting moment of satisfaction, wtf.

land of the free my ass.
     
FeLiZeCaT
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Feb 3, 2004, 10:18 PM
 
Well Saddam H.

You can always ignore the guy instead of making a big deal out of it.. or ask that person to be more explicit...
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vmpaul  (op)
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Feb 3, 2004, 10:48 PM
 
Originally posted by BRussell:


Isn't she the one who wanted to reduce taxes on masturbation?
Holy sh*t, I'm supposed to declare that? What form is that again?
The only thing that I am reasonably sure of is that anybody who's got an ideology has stopped thinking. - Arthur Miller
     
Krusty
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Feb 3, 2004, 11:14 PM
 
Originally posted by vmpaul:
Holy sh*t, I'm supposed to declare that? What form is that again?
Yes, you must declare on schedule JO ... but for f*ck's sake, please don't itemize .
     
spacefreak
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Feb 3, 2004, 11:37 PM
 
Originally posted by BRussell:
Spacefreak has a very good point though, that sin taxes probably hit the poor hardest, and sales taxes are already regressive.
I saw a study a few years ago that showed that the wealthier, more educated people were more likely to give up smoking (or not smoke) than poorer, less educated folks. In the conclusion, the researchers reasoned that this was likely due to the better off people wanting to live longer and 'enjoy' their money into their old age.


Here's a UK-based statistical analysis. I briefly looked for a USA study, but couldn't find one in the short amount of time I have now. Regardless, I'm sre the significance is similar:
he prevalence of smoking varies by social class. For both men and women, the proportion of smokers is higher among those in the manual socio-economic groups than among those in the non-manual groups. Over a quarter of people aged 16 and over in the United Kingdom were smokers in 1998-99, but while only 13 per cent of male professionals and 14 per cent of female professionals smoked, over two-fifths of unskilled males and a third of unskilled females did so.
So yes, raising taxes on cigarettes effectively and dispropotionally taxes the poorer, less educated people.
     
spacefreak
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Feb 3, 2004, 11:51 PM
 
Originally posted by FeLiZeCaT:
or provide free/low-cost programs to quit smoking.
I agree. Instead of those Marlbotro miles promotions, or Camel 'bucks' prizes, let people send in their upc codes for a boxz of Nicorette or patches.

Then, simultaneously, give tax credits to the tobacco companies to offset their losses - say, $200 for each verifiable ex-smoker of their brand.

Set a 10-year window for the illegalization of nicotine-based cigarettes, but allow the tobacco companies to introduce and sell non-nicotine tobacco products. Then, if folks want to smoke, at least they won't be physically addicted.

However, and this is the kicker - nicotine has significant anti-depressant properties. As the smoking rates have gone down over the years, an inverse rise in the use of antidepressants has occurred. Humans (in general) seem to have always relied substances to get through life in a stable mental state, or at least those who are not devoutly spiritual.

So if nicotine was illegalized, what substance would take its place among society? And, when it's all said and done, are those substances (prescriptions, booze, etc.), when consumed daily over a 20, 30, 40+ year period, any less harmful than tobacco?
     
Rev-O
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Feb 4, 2004, 03:42 AM
 
My .02.

It would be a tax on the poor, as I'm guessing that smoking is more associated with a lower economic demographic. Hammer me on this one all ya want, 'cuz like I said, I'm guessing. It's like the lotto and Powerball, a tax upon the poor. Enough of that stuff going around already.

How abut stopping subsidies to the tobacco market for statrers. Subsidise something 'cuz it's good for a local economy, then tax it 'cuz it's bad for your health and you're s'posed quit.

Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!
     
FeLiZeCaT
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Feb 4, 2004, 07:28 AM
 
to spacefreak:

I am not sure of the scientific data around the anti-depressant properties of tobacco/nicotine.

Nicotine is actually a stimulant, and cigarettes are used often as a relaxant...

Thing is, you get more relaxation from the inhalation of air (the oxygen goes through your lungs, your muscles, your brain) and because the metabolism is more efficient, the body works better, and it may get a person to feel better as a consequence. Relaxation and deep breathing (with some training) is actually an excellent way to feel good with none of the disadvantages of nicotine and at a null cost. (You can also get more interested in air purification and get more concerned about pollution in general...)

When feeling apathy and lethargy, caffeine as well as nicotine kick in to stimulate, giving the impression of higher productivity. In too high dosage, both caffeine and nicotine can create symptoms of depression at the end of the day.

Addictions are, in general, self-medication processes (alcohol, drugs, gambling) of which the simple attribution of its benefits and repetition of behavior may interfere with anxiety and depression.

In the long term, the body is highjacked by the tools supposed to relieve it and becomes addicted.

It is actually said that it is just as difficult to quit smoking as to quit heroine.

But living in a "pop" culture where quick fixes and instant rewards abound makes it easy to deny the negative aspects of cigarettes.

Of course, the social cost is extremely high; although cancer has not been identified as a direct consequence of smoking, it is extremely strongly associated, which makes it a very likely cause.

If you care for your freedom, you might want to think about how long of that freedom you have; the more you smoke, the higher the chances you will require a form of medical assistance earlier in life for a longer time.

People die older in industrialized countries, but the living conditions related to their health are not necessarily improving.

For those of you who want to quit, I strongly suggest a program with the assistance of a professional and a strong motivation. In Canada, promotion for free programs to quit smoking are more and more available. You might alos check with your Employee Assistance Provider (EAP) who can provide a good and structured program, often at no cost to the employee.

EAPs are very good in this that although their goal is to maintain or assist in increasing employee's productivity, they actually provide relief for employees with personal problems. Smoking is recognized as a major interference in production, and therefore, as a cause of lower benefits.

Just my $2.


;O)
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Fanatic
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Feb 4, 2004, 08:46 AM
 
I smoked heavily for 12 years, and I'll tell ya... quiting is the hardest thing I ever did... it took me two years (on again, off again). The single most important thing you need to be able to quit is someone out there to make you. My wife and I decided to quit together, and that's how I finally kicked the habit... and I've never been happier (plus the extra $200 per month we save is HUGE).
iMac 15" FP G4 800Mhz 512mb Ram Superdrive
     
voyageur
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Feb 4, 2004, 10:02 AM
 
Kudos to you and your wife, Fanatic, for going through with it.
FeLiZeCaT makes very good points about the psychological and social properties of addictive substances. Indeed, the temporary high (or anti-depressive effect, if you want) usually goes along with a corresponding and sometimes devastating low in all these addictive substances, which contributes to their addictive properties. I actually work in an addiction research lab and so am very interested in these issues. What's remarkable is that we have a significant number of smokers among the staff, who, despite being educated people who spend their time studying the ill effects of nicotine and other drugs, can't quit. Nicotine is powerful stuff.

And who says a forum discussion can't change people's minds? After reading the opinions here, I've decided that a cigarette tax is probably not a good idea.

BTW, Krusty and vmpaul, thanks for making me laugh. You guys have a great sense of humor.
     
Saddam H.
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Feb 4, 2004, 10:33 AM
 
Originally posted by osiris:
...Then a 'dangerous' tax should be applied to cars, and yet more tax added to booze too, and a fat tax for those FAT MOFOS buying Big Macs at Mc Lardass, heck, tax the living crap out of everything bad for your health but yet provides a fleeting moment of satisfaction, wtf.

land of the free my ass.
There's already a danger tax on autos. It's called liability insurance, and this 'tax' just keeps going up.

additionally, you can eat mcdonald's and drink moderately with no impact on your health (AS LONG AS one exercises and is healthy to begin with). However, smoking itself is a cancer. If you quit your lungs still stand a good chance of healing themselves. But if you keep it up, no amount of Atkins or exercise is going to keep you from developing some type of taxpayer-funded health problem.
     
spacefreak
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Feb 4, 2004, 12:26 PM
 
Originally posted by FeLiZeCaT:
to spacefreak:

I am not sure of the scientific data around the anti-depressant properties of tobacco/nicotine.
Good post. Also, I found some related articles.
Some stuff here, and here regarding the anti-depressant properties, which are really just coming to light now. Also, witness the success of the anti-depressant Zyban (Wellbutrin) in aiding people to quit smoking by effectively replacing one anti-depressant with another.

Another medication recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an aid for quitting smoking is the antidepressant bupropion, or ZybanĘ . The association between nicotine addiction and depression is not yet understood, but nicotine appears to have an antidepressant effect in some smokers.
A study conducted at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) looked at why women who ended up in the hospital with cardiovascular disease continued to smoke.

``Smoking acts as an antidepressant. A lot of women self-medicate for depression by smoking,'' Froelicher said Monday.

``The rate of abstinence was three times that of placebo,'' he said. Perruchoud said Zyban, which inhibits the brain's uptake of dopamine, works to combat depression in the same way smoking does.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Feb 4, 2004, 12:35 PM
 
Originally posted by ghost_flash:
Make it $3.00 per pack, make them pay for
the entire Healthcare problem.

I quit.
Actually, smokers are a lot CHEAPER for the healthcare system.

Reason?

They die much sooner. All that old-age stuff costs a LOT of money that nobody will be spending on the buld of smokers.

-s*
     
Millennium
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Feb 4, 2004, 12:39 PM
 
Any type of tax aimed specifically at punishing behavior is an abomination.
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theolein
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Feb 4, 2004, 12:47 PM
 
Originally posted by voyageur:
Kudos to you and your wife, Fanatic, for going through with it.
FeLiZeCaT makes very good points about the psychological and social properties of addictive substances. Indeed, the temporary high (or anti-depressive effect, if you want) usually goes along with a corresponding and sometimes devastating low in all these addictive substances, which contributes to their addictive properties. I actually work in an addiction research lab and so am very interested in these issues. What's remarkable is that we have a significant number of smokers among the staff, who, despite being educated people who spend their time studying the ill effects of nicotine and other drugs, can't quit. Nicotine is powerful stuff.

And who says a forum discussion can't change people's minds? After reading the opinions here, I've decided that a cigarette tax is probably not a good idea.

BTW, Krusty and vmpaul, thanks for making me laugh. You guys have a great sense of humor.
I stopped smoking a while ago, then started again, and now have stopped again. What I find amazing is how incredibly difficult it has become to stop. I've had really bad headaches, bad moods (I'm just thankful that Saddam H. has so kindly offered to help out there ) nausea, the works this time around and it's a good motivation to stick with it now.
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Lerkfish
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Feb 4, 2004, 12:52 PM
 
Originally posted by Millennium:
Any type of tax aimed specifically at punishing behavior is an abomination.
I agree...."sin" taxes as they're referred to are inherently flawed. The alleged stated premise is that by excessively taxing such behaviours they can curb them. But that's a convenient smokescreen. The reality is that legislators know these people by and large can't or won't quit and so the end result (and what they want) is huge revenues from a tax that people can't easily vote away, since they aren't across the board.

They are disproportionate by class, impacting lower socioeconomic groups, and they never rescind or remove even if (not that it actually would) the behaviour improves.

If the real purpose was to eliminate "sin" or behaviours society wishes to restrict, they would go after the tobacco companies, alcohol distributors, etc. But they rarely do. Instead, they skim off an addictive activity from the addict instead of the supplier.
     
theolein
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Feb 4, 2004, 12:53 PM
 
Originally posted by Saddam H.:
I certainly understand the difficulties of acquiring English language skills, but if someone isn't up to snuff, they don't need to post.
When you're up to it, let us know.
weird wabbit
     
daimoni
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Feb 4, 2004, 01:27 PM
 
Originally posted by nonhuman:
It is not the government's job to decide what people can and can't do to their own bodies. That's all this is. The government is trying to make our decisions for us, and I, for one, think it, and all other sin taxes, are a horrible idea and should be gotten rid of for got.
Hold on. You're a smart guy. But you failed to mention the impact smoking-related problems have on our health-care system.

Who's supposed to pay for other peoples stupidity and lack of regard for their fellow citizens? Me? You?

1. Our government should immediately cease all subsidies to tobacco farmers and all corporations affiliated with the tobacco business.

2. Smoking should be completely banned from all public places. You want to smoke? Do it in the privacy of your own home.

3. Continuing smokers should be disqualified from receiving any medical benefits. Or at the very least, the price of cigarettes should reflect the cost of treatment programs to themselves and the sufferers of second-hand smoke.

Then, after that, yeah, let smokers do whatever they want in the name of so-called personal Liberty and Freedom.
     
zigzag
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Feb 4, 2004, 01:31 PM
 
A physician acquaintance of mine who is a pharmacology researcher at the NIH uses Nicorette regularly, by choice. He feels that the nicotine itself is relatively harmless and is a useful anti-depressant/pick-me-up, not unlike caffeine.

Someone suggested making smokers show proof of health insurance. Interesting idea, but it would be a bureaucratic/law enforcement nightmare. Plus, we don't care if they have coverage when they buy the cigarettes - we care if they have it later, when they get sick. Plus, requiring expensive insurance coverage doesn't help lower-income smokers who can't afford it - might as well keep it simple and tax them as a deterrent. Plus, smoking-related illnesses are still an unnecessary burden on the risk pool, so having insurance only pushes the costs onto others.

There was a time when people were free to live as they pleased, but they had to accept the consequences of self-destructive behavior. We now live in a much more populous society where expensive medical care is nearly considered a fundamental right. In becoming health-coverage dependent, we've largely forfeited the right to do as we please, because the consequences reach beyond us and drive up costs for everyone else. I don't like the idea of a nanny state either but you can't have it both ways. So you regulate things like cigarettes, or tax the hell out of them.

As for masturbation taxes, take my advice: don't under-report. Believe me, you don't want to get audited.
     
nonhuman
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Feb 4, 2004, 01:39 PM
 
Originally posted by daimoni:
1. Our government should immediately cease all subsidies to tobacco farmers and all corporations affiliated with the tobacco business.
Agreed. Only I wouldn't limit it to just tobacco and tobacco-related farmers and corporations (but it's a start).

2. Smoking should be completely banned from all public places. You want to smoke? Do it in the privacy of your own home.
I'm mostly with you on this one. Not sure about outside, though. Doesn't really see the harm in smoking outside where there's nothing to hold the smoke in around the people (but I wouldn't object too strongly to it). I'd also want to make it so that whether or not a private establishment allowed smoking was entirely up to the management of that establishment (with the provisos that it is not legal to discriminate against people based on whether or not they smoke and that people are not allowed to smoke at work even if they work in an establishment that allows smoking).

3. Continuing smokers should be disqualified from receiving any medical benefits. Or at the very least, the price of cigarettes should reflect the cost of treatment to themselves and the sufferers of second-hand smoke.
From the government, yes (whether or not the government should be providing health care in the first place is a whole nother question). Whether or not private health-care providers want to provide benefits to smokers should be entirely up to them. The price of cigarettes should be whatever the fair market price of cigarettes is. Any extra costs in health care caused by smoking should be added to the cost of the health care for smokers.
( Last edited by nonhuman; Feb 4, 2004 at 02:23 PM. )
     
voyageur
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Feb 4, 2004, 01:49 PM
 
Originally posted by theolein:
I stopped smoking a while ago, then started again, and now have stopped again. What I find amazing is how incredibly difficult it has become to stop. I've had really bad headaches, bad moods (I'm just thankful that Saddam H. has so kindly offered to help out there ) nausea, the works this time around and it's a good motivation to stick with it now.
Good luck with it, theolein. Quitting's got to help with the lung capacity for all that early morning swimming.
     
vmpaul  (op)
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Feb 4, 2004, 01:53 PM
 
Originally posted by zigzag:


There was a time when people were free to live as they pleased, but they had to accept the consequences of self-destructive behavior. We now live in a much more populous society where expensive medical care is nearly considered a fundamental right. In becoming health-coverage dependent, we've largely forfeited the right to do as we please, because the consequences reach beyond us and drive up costs for everyone else. I don't like the idea of a nanny state either but you can't have it both ways. So you regulate things like cigarettes, or tax the hell out of them.
That's the issue in a nutshell. I'm not sure how we arrive at a consensus though. It's hardly presented in such a clear manner. Let's face it, does anybody feel sorry to see somebody else get taxed, especially for something so self-destructive?

Originally posted by zigzag:
As for masturbation taxes, take my advice: don't under-report. Believe me, you don't want to get audited.
True. Can you get a charley-horse on your prostate gland?
The only thing that I am reasonably sure of is that anybody who's got an ideology has stopped thinking. - Arthur Miller
     
voyageur
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Feb 4, 2004, 01:59 PM
 
Originally posted by Spheric Harlot:
Actually, smokers are a lot CHEAPER for the healthcare system.

Reason?

They die much sooner. All that old-age stuff costs a LOT of money that nobody will be spending on the buld of smokers.
They do die younger, but are they cheaper? Those long-term illnesses smokers are prone to can get very expensive, like emphysema, or lung and throat cancer. And, aside from these severe illnesses, smokers tend to have chronic minor health problems and just get sick more often.
Some companies give bonuses to employees who quit, because they figure they'll be healthier and work harder. I wonder if it works.
     
zigzag
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Feb 4, 2004, 02:17 PM
 
Originally posted by vmpaul:
True. Can you get a charley-horse on your prostate gland?
No, but hairy palms are a dead giveaway. Also, an auditor can find out how many times you've rented Prison-A-Go-Go.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Feb 4, 2004, 02:18 PM
 
Originally posted by vmpaul:
True. Can you get a charley-horse on your prostate gland?
No, but regular stimulation reduces the risk of prostate cancer by about 80%.

-s*
     
ink
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Feb 4, 2004, 02:19 PM
 
Originally posted by daimoni:
Who's supposed to pay for other peoples stupidity and lack of regard for their fellow citizens? Me? You?

1. Our government should immediately cease all subsidies to tobacco farmers and all corporations affiliated with the tobacco business.

2. Smoking should be completely banned from all public places. You want to smoke? Do it in the privacy of your own home.
Damn straight! We should also ban all cars from public places; they are a HUGE burden on our healthcare system. Electricity should be banned too; the generation, production and distribution of it leads to countless deaths every year. Any food item with any ingredient that has caloric value should also be banned from public places; people DIE from eating too many calories!!! It's a super-burden to MY HEALTHCARE COSTS!!!

3. Continuing smokers should be disqualified from receiving any medical benefits. Or at the very least, the price of cigarettes should reflect the cost of treatment programs to themselves and the sufferers of second-hand smoke.
Yeah, fsck them. They should just go out on the corner and start mugging people for money so that they can pay for their own medical costs out-of-pocket. We should ban them from getting PUBLIC jobs too; god forbid that they have a serotonin imbalance.

Then, after that, yeah, let smokers do whatever they want in the name of so-called personal Liberty and Freedom.
     
Twilly Spree
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Feb 4, 2004, 02:28 PM
 
"Second hand smoking" does not cause cancer.

So no2 there just isn't a reason Daimoni. Unless you want to ban people from smelling bad. Why not banning people from looking bad while we are at it?

:o

Also: most people put their body/health at risk constantly. If you practice sports you are in a serious risk of physical injury, if you drive a car you are risking injury, if you eat unbalanced diet you are in risk of a stroke or a heart attack, if you drink alcohol you are risking your liver and you are far more likely to put other people in danger than when you don't use alcohol, if you have sex with a stranger unprotected you may become HIV infected, if you don't exercise and eat a lot you will risk cardiac diseases, diabetes, liver damages, if you are exposed to microwaves from cellulars you may develop alzheimers or brain tumor, if you eat a bathtub of blue M&Ms you'll get cancer... you get the picture: and people like Daimoni aren't asking for them to forego healthcare or pay extra for health insurance!

How about spending your energy and effort to make your environment a better place rather than "fighting the tobacco demon"? Don't believe the popular science media.
     
Lerkfish
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Feb 4, 2004, 02:36 PM
 
Originally posted by Twilly Spree:
"Second hand smoking" does not cause cancer.
I'd argue with that. My dad smoked 4 packs a day, even while I ate my cheerios. I do not smoke. I got cancer.

Of course, its not the simple, there are a variety of risk factors.....but neither is it so simple as to say second hand smoking does not cause cancer.
     
vmpaul  (op)
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Feb 4, 2004, 02:49 PM
 
Originally posted by zigzag:
Also, an auditor can find out how many times you've rented Prison-A-Go-Go.
Damn Patriot Act!
The only thing that I am reasonably sure of is that anybody who's got an ideology has stopped thinking. - Arthur Miller
     
Spliffdaddy
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Feb 4, 2004, 03:13 PM
 
People are quick to label smokers as 'stupid' and 'costly to society' - and to ban them from public places.

Conversely, a heroin junkie is somehow smart and an asset to society - and some cities even provide a place for them to meet and inject heroin.

Two different perspectives from which to view an addict.

One is blamed and the other is excused.
     
Twilly Spree
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Feb 4, 2004, 03:33 PM
 
Originally posted by Lerkfish:
I'd argue with that. My dad smoked 4 packs a day, even while I ate my cheerios. I do not smoke. I got cancer.

Of course, its not the simple, there are a variety of risk factors.....but neither is it so simple as to say second hand smoking does not cause cancer.
I'm sorry you got cancer.

That combined with that your father smoked does not prove second hand smoking has anything to do with cancer. One does not necessarily cause the other.
     
thunderous_funker
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Feb 4, 2004, 03:48 PM
 
Originally posted by Spliffdaddy:
People are quick to label smokers as 'stupid' and 'costly to society' - and to ban them from public places.

Conversely, a heroin junkie is somehow smart and an asset to society - and some cities even provide a place for them to meet and inject heroin.

Two different perspectives from which to view an addict.

One is blamed and the other is excused.
Its not a moral or ethical decision. Its pure economics.

State sponsored shooting galleries are actually cheaper than the alternatives.

If we ended all of the subsidies to tabacco farmers, the real costs would be translated to smokers and it would probably achieve the same effect as a "sin tax" without getting government involved.
"There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die." -- Hunter S. Thompson
     
BRussell
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Feb 4, 2004, 03:52 PM
 
Originally posted by Twilly Spree:
"Second hand smoking" does not cause cancer.
Yes it does, according to the actual research, in comparison to, say, somebody on a BB making a claim without backing it up. Sure, it's not nearly as much of a risk factor as smoking yourself. Smoking causes around 400,000 deaths in the US per year, whereas second-hand smoke causes approx. 1% of those deaths. But it still is a scientifically established cause of death. Don't buy the tobacco industry anti-scientific propaganda. They've been at it for decades.
     
 
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