The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Smoking tax

A federal panel erroneously considers increasing the cost by up to $2

Smokers may have to pay an extra $2 for cigarettes if a federalpanel gets its way. The panel introduced a 10-point plan last week,which includes escalating a tax on cigarettes from $0.39 to$2.39.

Four former surgeon generals were influential in the creation ofthe plan. These former officials prophesize that five millionsmokers will quit smoking in response, which may prevent threemillion tobacco-related illness deaths. They also said that most ofthese smokers are minorities and have low-incomes.

Officials need to understand that racial background and incomedoes not mean a thing when people are addicted to nicotine. The taxchange on each pack of cigarettes is big, but it probablywon’t send people to the bank. If it does, smokers are morelikely to cut-down on another expense rather than cigarettes.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, when Wisconsinraised its cigarette tax by 45 cents in 1998, cigarette consumptiononly declined by 8 percent.

Parts of this plan are downright dimwitted.

One attribute, creating a national smokers support line, isalready in the works. Health and Human Services Secretary TommyThompson said that $25 million would be dedicated to the toll free”quit line,” which should be established by the end ofthe year.

How many cigarette users are going to pick up a phone beforethey light up?

Smokers trying to quit made need support at times, but anational hotline is uncalled for.

This is an utter waste of money. If the government really wantsto create jobs, how about ones that relate to health care andeducation rather than a pre-emptive measure?

Planners also unwisely want to launch a media campaign with theproceeds from the tax. Almost all Americans know that smoking isbad for their health. Those who smoke have only to go up a shortflight of stairs or look at their yellow teeth to realize that.

The media has been informing the public about the dangers ofsmoking for years. It is safe to say that most of this coverageaccurately reported the truths about smoking. The public normallycomprehends and reacts to news stories rather than advertisements,however.

Ultimately, smokers choose to start the practice and becomeaddicted. When people are addicted to something, they will continueto find ways to get it, no matter what the price.

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