By lowering taxes on cigarettes, and saying they want to attract more smokers to buy cigarettes in their states, our government has shown their true colors when it comes to “protecting” us from the evils of tobacco.

It is amazing what this economic downturn has revealed. It doesn’t matter that as of today only three states have lowered cigarette taxes, as a way to protect their revenue stream, because if it works (and probably even if it doesn’t) other states will follow suit.

Government just cares about raising money via taxes and fees so that they have more money spend. How many of you really think that the government doesn’t want you to smoke and really wants to take care of you? How many of you think that our elected officials want to protect us from bad things and not just tax for doing these “bad things” so that they can fill the government’s coffers?

Anything the government regulates – or even attempts to regulate – is purely an effort in raising cash. I don’t want to make this a political discussion, but our government has left no choice. “Tobacco kills,” we’ve been told for at least 4 decades but the only action the government has taken is to limit advertising of tobacco products and raise taxes on tobacco products.

The message sent by the government has nothing to do with protecting our health from the evils of smoking and everything to do with raising cash. If we’re going to smoke ourselves to death, the government wants to make money off of each and every smoker. For the record I think people should have the right to smoke, just like they can drink booze. But if the ban on cigarettes were about health, I would be the first to support the movement.

But this will never happen because the government needs the blood money that tobacco products produce. Now, in a beautifully ironic twist, smokers have changed their habits. They have either stopped smoking, smoke less, buy cigarettes on the black market or buy from states where the taxes are lower. And some state governments don’t like this because if fewer people are buying cigarettes the state collects less tax revenue.

So New Hampshire, Rhode Island and New Jersey have decided to lower taxes to compete with neighboring states. Whether or not lowering taxes will actually make a difference in revenue is besides the point; these states are saying they need to raise more cash, and that they are willing to do so on the backs, and lungs, of smokers. There’s no concern for smokers’ health here.

Another story deals with how a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended that menthol cigarettes be banned. Really? Just menthol cigarettes? Why not all cigarettes?

Maybe the government will just levy another tax on menthol cigarettes. Never again should anyone believe the nonsense that the government wants people to stop smoking.


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