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Please smoke - it's for the kids!

Democrats are working on a huge expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program that covers children of families with too much income to qualify for Medicaid. The only problem is they will need a lot of people to START smoking soon in order to meet its funding goals, editorializes The Examiner:

There are some differences in detail between the Senate and House bills authorizing massive expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), yet the competing plans have this much in common: Some states will be winners, others will be losers, but they're all going to have to recruit millions of new smokers. This is because both plans depend on an increase in the federal tax on cigarettes, with the House version upping the levy 45 cents and the Senate 61 cents. Unfortunately, economic reality makes clear just how imprudent it is to take such a course.

There are two ways in which this is true. First, raising the federal tax on smokes will decrease sales. Even congressmen know that a higher price for a commodity reduces the number of consumers able to purchase it. The hitch here for SCHIP and the states is that the latter also tax cigarettes, which means they will lose revenue as a result of the federal increase.

A study by the conservative Heritage Foundation found that every state would lose at least $1 million in annual revenues under the House bill, with 17 losing more than $10 million. Under the Senate bill, every state would lose at least $1.4 million, and half would lose more than $10 million. Losses for three states -- California, Ohio and Pennsylvania -- would exceed $50 million.

Read it all at the above link. The money either must come from tobacco taxes or some other tax increase, according to the Democrats' own "pay-go" rules.

Smoke 'em if ya got 'em! What? You want to live forever or something? Remember - it's for the children . . .


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Comments (18)

The city of Chicago plans t... (Below threshold)

The city of Chicago plans to impose a 25 cent a bottle tax on ...water.

One alderman said if the people want to engage in a lifestyle that involves bottled water, they'll have to pay for it.

So now, not only do you pay for engaging in an unhealthy activity, actually doing something that can be good for you is something you'll have to pay a penalty.

I agree...screw these petty... (Below threshold)
nogo war:

I agree...screw these petty, discriminate taxes...We should all pitch in by paying higher taxes to make sure children are not limited to the emergency room as their only means of health care...

...except of course...those making over $200,000 a year...after all they already pay way too much...

You know, there is nothing ... (Below threshold)

You know, there is nothing stopping all these folks who say we should pay more taxes from making a voluntary contribution to the Treasury. And yet, none (or almost none, we average about $5000 per year "donated," I think) do.

Why not? Wouldn't leading by example demonstrate at least sincerity of belief, instead of the bitter envy of the successful and the desire for more government control over personal lives?

nogo:We should... (Below threshold)


We should all pitch in by paying higher taxes to make sure children are not limited to the emergency room as their only means of health care...

WOW, is that a change is your usual position of "45 bazillion" Americans have no access to health care?

Nogo war, this garbage abou... (Below threshold)

Nogo war, this garbage about "children" is pretty hilarious since the Democrats tried to extend this benefit to middle class "children" of 25 years of age.

Spare us the BS rhetoric.

This is just another steppi... (Below threshold)

This is just another stepping stone to socialized medicine.

BTW if the Dems really wanted to do something 'for the children' they would see to it they got an education. As it stands now they only get filled full of propaganda.

I guess this blows the whol... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:

I guess this blows the whole "socialized medicine will save money" meme out of the water. If it will save money, why do we need to raise any taxes?

The demacrats idea of child... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

The demacrats idea of child health care. Take your kid to the witchdoctor he will say OO EE OO AAH AAH BING BANG WALLA WALLA BING BANG and say ITS JUST COMMON COLD GIVE THEM CHICKEN SOUP

The real intent of any tax ... (Below threshold)

The real intent of any tax on cigarettes is to limit their use because they present such a serious public health care problem and expense for American society, and cigarettes are especially dangerous and lethal to young children and infants. Further any tax on cigarettes makes smokers partially responsible for a fraction of the immense unnecessary health care costs they bring on society and nonsmokers for the serious health injuries that they cost by their public practice of their rude and selfish drug addiction.

Philip Morris even openly notes on their corporate website the following health warning dangers produced from secondhand cigarette smoke: "Public health officials have concluded that secondhand smoke from cigarattes causes disease, including lung cancer and heart disease, in nonsmoking adults, as well as causes conditions in children such as asthma, respiratory infections, cough, wheeze, otitis media(middle ear infection)and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. In addition, public health officials have concluded that secondhand smoke can excaberate adult asthma and cause eye, throat and nasal irritation". Any of these public health dangers can cost nonsmokers an expensive trip to the doctor or to an emergency room. And asthma can result in death as does SIDS in tiny infants whose undeveloped immune systems cannot tolerate the poisoning from the 4,000 toxins contained in secondhand smoke including illegal pollutants such as lead, nickel and cadium, banned from use in other industrial pollution.

Secondhand smoke causes a loss of productivity for American business, extra sick days from school and work from asthma or ear infections, as well can cause the unnecesssary and painful practice of ear tube surgery in children whose ears have become badly infected by the rudeness of public smokers. Long term hearing damage can result from serious repeated ear infections. Any product that create a disability or death to nonusers is normally banned by government, but cigarettes have special rights by government to injure nonusers.

Cigarettes cause smokers so much physical injury, that a dental product, eugenol, is added by the tobacco companies to numb the pain so smokers cannot feel the injuries. Normally eugenol was used to treat painful dental conditions such as toothache or impacted teeth. This use of dental pain additives to deceive smokers on the extent of injury that cigarettes cause is serious manipulation of the products to prevent users from quitting. In addition, some scientists claim that the nicotine levels are also carefully adjusted and raised to maintain the drug addiction to cigarettes as well.

The nicotine drug is also distributed to unwilling persons via secondhand smoke. This drug is just as addictive as heroin according to addiction experts, and destroys quality REM sleep in users and nonusers alike and may create withdrawal symptoms and craving in nonusers, including children to become smokers to satisfy this craving spread by the use of cigarettes in public places by smokers. No other drug addiction involves the unwanted distribution of a drug, or creates a new demand by use of the public breathing air. Other drug addictions only destroy the user, not nonusers as well.

Cigarettes are solely intended as unnecessary air pollution creation device. The EPA bans most of the 4,000 illegal pollutants in cigarettes by other industries, but the tobacco industry has special rights not given to other industry to pollute the public air. All other American industry, automobile, oil, batteries, etc. is banned from the distribution of lead, nickel, cadmium and other substances in the public air. Toys from China are recalled because of lead in the paint, but cigarettes are given special rights to spread lead in the public air supply by the government.

Cigarettes largely appeal to a some awful demographics such as heavy drinkers, drug addicts, or the mentally ill. For example, roughly 80% of persons with diagnosed mental illness are smokers compared to only around 19% of the general public. Many of the mentally ill, alcoholics or drug addicts are very low income persons as well, and rely on taxpayer funded public health programs to pay for their medical costs. Many of these low income addicts also use disportionately use expensive emergency room services, which comes at huge cost to both public and private health care costs.

When my own father was very sick and in the emergency room at a local hospital recently, security guards had to argue with some total loser not to smoke in the emergency room. In addition another clearly drunken man was stumbling down to the emergency room, smoking cigarettes all the way to the front door. This is the market that tobacco executives make themselves wealthy with, just like alcohol executives of cheap fortified wines that line the skid rows of America with alcoholics.

There is no logical justification not to limit the use of cigarettes through higher taxes or for the tobacco industry and smokers to be made partially responsible for the huge unnecessary health injuries, health care costs and loss productivity to America. Government clearly needs the courage to outlaw the sale, production and use of any tobacco device that produces unnecessary air pollution that negatively impacts the health of nonusers, but in the absense of that courage, higher taxes on cigarettes do achieve some important public health goals and benefits.

Most of the claims for seco... (Below threshold)

Most of the claims for second hand smoke are exaggerated claims based on bad science. Cigarettes are already taxed in excess of the costs to society - and those taxes are regressive in nature.

I've found the rhetoric about the tobacco industry interesting because of the amount of dishonesty found in the anti-smoking lobby.

SPQR, complete nonsense, ev... (Below threshold)

SPQR, complete nonsense, even Philip Morris accepts the proven scientific evidence on secondhand smoke as I posted above from their very own website. The Surgeon General also blames an epidemic of childhood asthma on secondhand smoke as well.

One breath of secondhand cigarette smoke in a public place causes me potential infection in my ears, a burning sensation in my mouth, sinus area and throat. I simply hate it. In addition, some of these infections have cost me doctor visits when this infection grew and ran down to my lungs and I had respiratory trouble such as difficulty breathing. My doctor who is instructor at the medical school has documented all of this. In addition, my mother, another nonsmoker, has developed first asthma and now emphysema from secondhand smoke at her workplace and now is too weak to leave the house except for doctor visits, of which I have to carry her around in a wheelchair. She also is forced to spend $800 a month of her Social Security income to buy medicine each month to stay alive.

SPQR, the problem with the cigarette nicotine drug addict of any type is the rude and selfish attitude that they develop where they have no moral problem satifying their selfish drug cravings in public places right in the presense of children or other unwilling persons no matter how much injury or discomfort it causes. Many churches also have serious moral problems with smoking, which defiles the body which is supposed to be a temple of God or public smoking which is immoral because it causes harm to others.

Originally, the Native American Indian shared tobacco with the White Man as something rarely used only during special religious or peace conference use only. But many White Men and others have no self-control around this drug and use it constantly and in public places, going through a whole pack or more of cigarettes a day. Even cigar smokers, often only use a cigar during special events, unlike the drug addiction nature of many cigarette smokers.While alcohol has been so destructive to the Native American Indian community, smoking has been very destructive to the White community. Both drug addictions have really hurt both communities. There is no good reason not to raise taxes on cigarttes to limit their use or to offset a portion of the health problems that they create.

Paul, I find the rude behav... (Below threshold)

Paul, I find the rude behavior of some smokers to be matched by the rude behavior of some non-smokers who think that they have a right to proscribe others' behavior where it does not harm them.

However, the reality is that the medical studies on second hand smoke that supposedly conclude that second hand smoke has the described health effects abuse the statistical evidence by using absurdly low thresholds of statistical significance that are not accepted in any other field of medical study.

I don't care what Phillip Morris "accepts" as they are required by settlements of litigation to post nonsense on their website.

While it is clear that the ... (Below threshold)

While it is clear that the tobacco industry spun the medical issues of smoking for decades, what is less publicized is that so has cancer lobbies like the American Cancer Society. One needs to be skeptical about claims made by the cancer lobby.

For instance, there are illnesses that smokers would experience in greater rates that the cancer lobby would then describe as "caused" by smoking. They would then list everyone who died of one of those diseases as killed by smoking - which is statistical nonsense. Sometimes, smoking had a causation mechanism for the illness, sometimes it didn't but that there was a correlation without causation. An example of the latter is that women who smoke are more likely to have cervical cancer. But since it is known that cervical cancer is caused by a virus, which is communicable, it is most likely that the statistical correlation is due to an uncontrolled factor that smoking women share. Nonetheless, for years the American Cancer Society listed cervical cancer deaths as 'caused' by smoking.

SPRQ, right now smokers hav... (Below threshold)

SPRQ, right now smokers have the right to assault me in a public place and cause me severe ear pain or other physical injuries, but I don't have the right to do anything to them in return. Smoking is simply legalized physical assault on nonsmokers who have health problems such as asthma. Where's the clean smoke-free air for them to breathe? Any tobacco product that produces smoke or fumes that impact the health of nonusers should banned by the government. Nicotine addicts can use chewing tobacco or snuff to get their darn drug addict fix.

Most of the smokers I see look like real bums or losers. I saw a smoking panhandler the other day who held a sign asking for food money, yet had enough money to be paying $4 a pack for cigarettes. Maybe he should spend that money on food instead. I have real trouble getting one of tenants of one of our homes we own to pay the rent, but they always have money to smoke everytime I see them and ask them to please pay the rent.

When my dad was alive, he spent his money buying homes while other guys wasted their money on alcohol or cigarettes and had nothing by comparison. There's a high cost to low living. They watched their good life go literally up in smoke. Now that my dad is gone, I have to hassle with renters who can't pay the rent because they spend the money on cigarettes. Substance abuse of any type creates bums. Plain and simple. If government can discourage this rotten conduct through higher taxes, then more power to them.

IF this tax were designed t... (Below threshold)

IF this tax were designed to further curtail smoking (or, as is all too often the case, send smokers to Indian reservations who pay no taxes or find other tax avoidance methods), at least that would be an honest effort.

What's happening here is they are attempting to fund a huge, sweeping new entitlement with additional tax revenues on cigarettes which, history shows us, will never materialize. The Law of Diminishing Returns has not been repealed.

One might suppose the Democrats too dumb to understand this simple economic fact, but they do have the non-partisan CBO to run the numbers for them. Therefore, they must know their plan is bogus and will REQUIRE large future infusions of tax revenue from other sources.

Which pretty much makes them liars.

Hi, Jim, for a number of ye... (Below threshold)

Hi, Jim, for a number of years, the state of Oregon has used tobacco revenues to provide low income children health care and the system has worked very well. If the this national proposal is similiar, then I don't expect any major problems with the system. The goals are certainly worthwhile to levy a sin tax on something that directly contributes to health problems in children to assist their health care costs.

Paul, your exaggerated rhet... (Below threshold)

Paul, your exaggerated rhetoric only shows your emotionalism.

Claiming that your own sensitivity makes other people's actions an "assault" is just more silly rhetoric.

Leave it to the windbags of... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

Leave it to the windbags of the windy city to come up with more taxes how about a big mouth tax on that idiot RICHARD DAILEY i mean charge him $200 for flapping his big fat piehole. And there still corution is CHICAGO and i hear that CHICAGO comes froma idian word meaning BAD SMELL






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