Come wednesday and the biggest ever tax increase on tobacco products takes place. The tax in the US has been increased from 39 cents to $1.01 for cigarettes and from 19.5 cents per pound to 50 cents for chewing tobacco.
Dubbed as a public health move one can see through the effort as being the only soul saver in the dwindling economy. The retail sales in other industries have gone down substantially in the last one year and consequently so has the tax collection. Therefore the government has targeted the ever reliable, 'smokin' hot' industry for increasing the tax collections so as to fund the bailouts.
Even though the anti-smoking advocates say that increasing the prices of cigarettes reduces consumption, not many people have quit smoking solely because of the price of the cigarettes.
If the government was really bothered about the public health they would have shut down the tobacco industry long time back. The fact that they don't says a lot about the motives. Sometimes I start doubting if the cigarettes really affect the human body. Maybe it is just a marketing gimmick to keep the product alive in the public memory.
The deaths directly attributable to tobacco will definitely come down since at this rate the cigarette tax will probably kill a person before the cigarette does. But will someone tell the powers that might be, that the cause of death will still remain cigarettes.
Someone, somewhere, has to consider the adverse social impact the ever increasing prices of cigarettes will have. It is a given that cigarettes are addictive and difficult to give up. Considering that a lot of people in the lower economic strata also smoke, the increased expenses on smoking are directly going to impact the spending power of the family on other essentials. Or does the government think that all men and women will always be morally conscious of putting their families before their habit?
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