Tag Archives: childrens health insurance

Don’t Put That in Your Pipe and Smoke it

Matt Apuzzo, of the Associated Press reported on a tax loophole that many Big Tobacco manufactures quickly jumped on to reduce their tax base.

By cleverly changing product marketing they are effectively dodging taxes that would have gone to support the cost of children’s health insurance.

It didn’t take long for many makers of tobacco products to catch on. They switched gears immediately to take advantage of the different tax rates between cigarette tobacco and loose pipe tobacco.

Roll-your-own brands of loose tobacco like Criss Cross and Farmers Gold were quickly pulled from the shelves of the tobacco shops. In their place new types of pipe tobacco bearing the same labels almost instantaneously appeared.

We all know those who roll their own cigarettes will purchase the “new varieties” of pipe tobacco to beat the rising costs of smoking cigarettes.

What is most worrisome about this move is pipe tobacco is not banned from adding flavors like tobacco companies did to cigarettes.

Now that new types of flavored pipe tobaccos are finding their way on the shelves, this could ignite a whole new movement for hooking young smokers.

The new varieties of packaged pipe tobacco are also manufactured with a finer cut, suitable for rolling in flavors such as black cherry, vanilla, and who knows what else.

Popeye and his PipeThis move did not go unnoticed; The Obama administration is looking into tightening their definitions so hopefully the funding for children’s health care remains effective. This costly loophole may be causing as much as $32 million dollars of lost tax revenue each month because pipe tobacco sales are rising as roll-your-own sales are drastically being reduced.

The tobacco company tax dodging strategy has our wheels turning at CiggyFree.com. Next, we may see tobacco companies reinventing Popeye as their spokesperson. The new product campaigns may just offer disposable pipes that go along with disposable lighters combined with packets of flavored tobacco aimed at enticing young smokers. Would it surprise us? No!

Credit: Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press & Popeye Cartoons

The Winners and Losers – Largest Tobacco Tax Increase

It wasn’t so long ago that Measure 50 was put before a people’s vote in the state of Oregon.

If it had passed, Oregon would have received 85 cents from each pack of cigarettes sold in the state, with the funds marked for children’s health care programs (and other important programs needing funding in the state).

Unfortunately, Big Tobacco’s manipulative tactics and deep pockets sponsored heavy negative campaigns funded by over 11 million dollars donated from the major tobacco companies. They won by swaying the vote.

Tobacco Tax Increase, Largest in History

Today was a historical day. The government passed the largest cigarette tax increase in the history of tobacco taxes. With the passing of this new tax, Big Tobacco lost and the people won.

Most of the revenue created from the new tax will go toward children’s health care. Values are shifting, and steps are being taken to support our children.

This increase brings the federal cigarette tax from 39 cents a pack to $1.01 and it applies to all tobacco products.

Winners and Losers

Lighting UpThe only real loser is Big Tobacco.

Unfortunately, you will hear those who wish to protect Big Tobacco say, “Obama is breaking his promise not to raise taxes.”

Another complaint expressing victimization is: “The majority of smokers are those who are low to middle income. They cannot afford a tax increase in the current economic climate.”

The fact is, people have a choice to smoke or not to smoke. If they don’t want to pay the tax, then they can stop smoking. Perhaps this is just the push they need to finally quit smoking.

Here’s one response to the tax increase quoted in USA Today:

“I’m going to quit,” said Will Hues, 27, smoking a cigarette outside the convenience store. He said prices have gone up so much that “you’re out of your mind to pay it.”

Responses like Mr. Hues’ are some of the best news for those who advocate life. Currently, every eight seconds someone in the world dies from a tobacco-related disease. That is equivalent to twenty-seven 747 airplanes full of passengers crashing every day. Perhaps we will have one less daily crash with this tax increase. The lives saved are not just numbers, but people who will go on to live a better quality life and be able to spend it with their loved ones.

So, if you are one of those who are complaining, then consider moving to South Carolina. The combined state and federal tobacco taxes in SC are only $1.08.

If you have a family member you are trying to get to quit smoking, then you might want to look at relocating to either Rhode Island or New York. These two states have the highest tobacco taxes. Rhode Island’s combined tobacco taxes are $3.47 and New York’s $3.76.

Today is a victory for living a healthy and long life.

Tobacco Campaign Tops Record $11 million (Oregonian)

The tobacco money against Oregon’s Measure 50’s proposed cigarette tax increase keeps piling in.

Philip Morris has donated another $1.1 million to the campaign, putting total contributions to that effort over $11 million.

Philip Morris, the Richmond, Virginia,-based maker of Marlboro cigarettes, and its parent company have donated $6.9 million to Stop The Measure 50 Tax Hike. Reynolds American, the maker of Camels, has contributed $4.8 million to another committee opposing the proposal, Oregonians Against The Blank Check.

Kids Versus CigarettesMeasure 50 would raise cigarette taxes by 85 cents a pack and Oregon could use the money for children’s health insurance and other health programs.

The campaign supporting the measure, Yes on the Healthy Kids Plan, has reported raising and spending $3.2 million so far. The proposal is one of two statewide measures on the Nov. 6 vote-by-mail ballot.

Only one campaign for or against a statewide ballot measure had ever topped $7 million in contributions in inflation-adjusted dollars, according to Democracy Reform Oregon, which monitors campaign finance activity. That was a 1992 effort against two measures proposing to shut down and close the Trojan nuclear power plant, which raised just more than $7 million in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Source: The Oregonian, davehogan@news.oregonian.com — Dave Hogan

Click to learn more about >Philip Morris

Cigarette Companies Light Up More Donations Against Measure 50

In a last-drag effort to defeat Oregon’s 85-cents-a-pack tax increase on cigarettes, the makers of Camel smokes tossed in another $905,000 today against the fight to crush Measure 50.

Today’s donation puts tobacco contributions at a staggering record of $10 million so far.

Reynolds American, the producers of Camel, has now contributed $4.2 million to the campaign against Measure 50.

The other $5.8 million has come from Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro’s.

In case you were wondering what Measure 50 will do, well, allow us to tell you what it will do: Money raised from the tax increase for cigarettes would be used to pay for children’s health insurance and other health programs.

Measure 50 will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, with ballots being mailed next week.

Map of OregonWhile at least 10 other Oregon ballot measure campaigns have raised more than $5 million in adjusted-for-inflation dollars during the past 20 years, only one raised more than $7 million and none raised more than $8 million, the Oregonian reported.

Source: Joseph Friedrichs, New West