Yes, we know – cigarettes are bad for you and not too many people dispute that fact. They also supposedly increase everyone’s health care premiums and medical costs, making them public enemy #1 sometimes. One way that states are trying to both raise money for insurance coverage and reduce the amount of people smoking is by raising the taxes owed on each pack of cigarettes. According to The Tax Foundation, these per-pack taxes range anywhere from a low of $.07 in South Carolina to a high of $2.75 in New York State. This is in addition to whatever the packs are being sold for at retail, which in New York makes a pack of cigarettes about $7-$9 depending on where you get them. That is a lot to pay for something whose only job is to give you cancer, and if you smoke a pack a day that would be $2,920 at $8 a pack over the course of a year. That is a lot of money. So here is my question – do you support making smokers pay higher taxes on every pack of cigarettes? Should they, because of the damage they are doing to themselves, have to pay more into the health care fund in every state through these taxes?
This is a very big debate in most places right now, as some people say they shouldn’t because it is a personal choice, while others think that everyone who eats a Big Mac should also pay more in taxes on fast food because of the health issues that go along with it. What about people who drink every night? Smoke cigars? Drive too fast? I am just curious as to what people think about these type of things and where we should be drawing the line. I am not sure that taxing smokers makes up for all the other people who do terrible things to their health, and I almost think it is unfair to target only them for these funds. What do you guys think?