Thursday, June 02, 2005

Tax, tax, tax that cigarette!

Hi, I'm John Waters, and I'm supposed to announce that there's no smoking in this theater, which is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard of in my life. I mean, who can sit through the length of a film, especially a European film, and not have a cigarette? But, don't you wish you had one, right now? Mmmmm-mm-mm-mm! But, go ahead and smoke anyway. It gives ushers jobs, and, if people didn't smoke, there'd be no employment for the youth of today. So, once again, no smoking in this theater. Mmmm-mmmm! And why not? It's a dirty habit, and smokers cost society money in increased health care costs. Plus, smokers are an easy minority to oppress (ever hear of a campaign to reduce the cigarette tax?).

A recent study by the Taxpayer's League of Minnesota asserts that smokers already pay more in state cigarette taxes than they consume in health care costs:
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the societal costs of smoking amount to about 15-24 cents a pack in 1986 dollars, or 27-43 cents a pack in 2005 dollars. Those costs are obviously substantially less than the taxes charged by the state and federal governments and being paid for by smokers through the tobacco settlements—amounting to 64 cents a pack in 1998. This year alone the state is getting about $200 million in tobacco settlement dollars from smokers, adding up to $1.6 billion paid into state coffers since 1998. Tobacco products are also subject to the 6.5% sales tax.

Between government efforts to end smoking, zero-tolerance municipal smoking bans, and $531 million in government subsidies to tobacco farmers since 2000, the government dilemma is how to collect the maximum tax revenue from every pack of smokes while avoiding driving tobacco farmers out of business by getting smokers to quit (and thereby reducing cigarette tax revenue). Perhaps Marlboro exports to the Third World is the answer!

1 comment:

karl said...

Howdy M t, I was just net surfing for some info on wealth building and noticed your blog site. Your this post sounded interesting although not relevant to my wealth building search but I am glad see someone has some excellent points of view out there.