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
The 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.