After hearing that one of two feelings entered you.
Either angry toward having to pay more for a product that continually gets increased--even though the product stays the same.
You weren't able to get past the first word "cigarette" and you were grossed out--this is primarily for the non-smokers in the world.
I'm going to focus on the latter for a little bit. It doesn't matter whether or not you smoke, chew, dip, or RYO. Tobacco products are always the first dog to get kicked whenever the government needs a quick source of capital (whether federal or state)--this needs to stop. Notice how the increases are never temporary; the price just continues to skyrocket.
Tobacco use is a choice, yes. However once someone makes the decision to begin it is one of the most difficult to quit. We've all been educated about the dangers of using such products, however there are just as many bad things to do.
Do we tax Little Debbie's as they rot children's teeth? No.
Do we tax Burger King, McDonald's, and the like for contributing to our nations absurd obesity levels? No.
What about taxing habit-forming medications, diet cola, or how about the waste of money designer handbags some people tend to get hooked on always having the latest greatest version of? No.
Yes, I'm trying to be lighthearted about this, but that's only to prove how ridiculous taxing one particular product people elect to purchase is.
Tobacco & cigarettes needs to quit being seen as the evergreen item to increase taxes on.
To forever target one group of society is wrong. Smokers are generally in the bottom tiers of the pay-scale, so they already are more likely to be financially stressed.
Now I'm going to change focus to my fellow tobacco users/advocates.
Did you notice the nearly 200% increase on Roll-Your-Own tobacco and accessories a year or so ago?
Did you notice the re-badging and removal of many specialty cigarettes? The flavored, fancy, clove/kretek cigarettes we used to see behind the counter at our local smoke-shops are gone. Supposedly such products encourage minors to start smoking.
Odd, personally I didn't even know such products existed until I was of age to even go into the specialty shops. If children don't know about a product, how does it encourage the use? Not to mention those styles were generally far more expensive than what regular cigarette user ever pay.
All apologies for rambling, but tobacco has been a declining market since the '70s. What is the purpose of taxing a dying segment? Smokers aren't going to stop due to price--we'll just change to a cheaper brand or find another route to getting our product at the proper price.
"Big Tobacco" has bent over backwards for the government, but it still gets painted as the ultimate evil-doer. Adults CHOOSE to smoke. The only thing that is going to work about creating fewer future tobacco users is education.
I grew-up in this country back when our public schools were still considered great. However, I still decided to start smoking. Why? It's a product that I enjoy using. I didn't start until I was in college, but I haven't regretted starting in the past 5 years it's been.
Alright, I'll step off my soapbox now. I encourage my fellow tobacco users, former smokers, proper taxing allies, and working-class advocates to sign this petition. I have targeted this one to go directly to our state level politicians (governor, senate & house/assembly reps.). I have also created a separate petition (per request of Change) aimed directly at the FEDERAL LEVEL, since both levels get to independently increase/decrease the taxation. You may find my second petition at:
I've allowed people to edit this letter, but naturally it reads as:
It simply isn't right.
Why should we have to pay more for a habit that we choose to do?
It's our bodies.
We know what smoking leads to once we first start.
I don't see a reason to raise them at all.
What is so wrong about someone coming home after a long day of work and wanting to relax by sitting down and having a cigarette or two? Nothing. It's our body, and we should not have to pay higher prices because certain people don't believe in it. All I am asking is for you to cease raising the tax on this particular product.
All anyone needs to do is think about it... The three largest cigarette manufacturers (RJ Reynolds, Phillip Morris, & Lorrilard) are ALL American companies employing hundreds of Americans in their factories and offices. By increasing the taxes our government is in fact only hurting one of the few remaining large American industries.
Also, the vast majority of smokers are low-income people. Increasing the taxes on cigarettes (and other various tobacco products) actually HURTS Americans who already can't afford it.
Lastly, just over a year ago the Obama administration banned a large quantity tobacco products due to a fear that they promoted youth smoking (flavored cigarettes, clove/kretek cigarettes, and multi-colored papered cigarettes).
The truth is most underage people are completely unaware of such products existing. This ban was useless and only hurts the tobacco industries, smokers willing to pay the already outrageous price for such products, and the retailers carrying the specialty tobacco products (mostly small business, family-owned "smoke-shops"). The banning of the product only took money away from the government and economy. It was a very poor decision.
I strongly recommend our elected officials and their staff do better UNBIASED research next time--instead of the option that comes off squeaky clean.
If the focus of these taxes are to prevent minors from smoking, why not penalize retailers who fail to ask for identification more drastically? Why not hand out more citations to the youth offenders? Legal-age tobacco users shouldn't be forced to pay the premium for others' foul decisions. It is simply becoming ridiculous.
Any further increase in taxes for these products must be looked at with close scrutiny. The present thinking stopped making sense quite some time ago. You don't tax an already declining market; by doing so you only jeopardize the causes already benefiting from the initial taxings. Consumers aren't going to quit smoking, BUT they are willing to search for a cheaper product serving the same purpose; in this case it would be illegally obtained (but readily available) counterfeit/brand-impostor tobaccos from online international suppliers.
Why not tax alcohol more heavily instead? Very few of those beverages are even made in this country these days outside of micro-brews. Plus, that is a product that hinders for more people in certain respects.
Tobacco needs to QUIT being the evergreen taxing option.
With all honesty,
Feel free to make your own edits and send me a message about any suggestions I ought to consider taking to make this successful.
Thanks you for your time!
Robert Joe Hennings started this petition with a single signature, and now has 91 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.