Image courtesy of matzeott
Whew! I definitely decided to quit smoking at just the right time. At the beginning of this month, the federal government decided to make the largest federal tax increase ever on cigarettes. The massive hike of 61.6 cents per pack now brings the total tax on a pack of cigarettes to just over $1 per pack.
Why more taxes?
The tobacco tax increase, signed into law by President Obama in February, will be used to finance an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The SCHIP covers those children of parents who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private health insurance. Expanding the SCHIP will cost the federal government $35 million dollars over five years and will secure federally funded healthcare for an additional 4 million children. With the added funds, the program will be able to cover over 11 million children.
Feeling Abused Several people interviewed CNN felt they were being unfairly targeted and the government is picking on smokers. One 83 year old woman states she has smoked for over 65 years says she has no intentions to quit and is upset at the government for raising the taxes. Another gentleman feels that the government is "picking on the poor people, the one's that smoke". He has smoked for over 50 years and has no intentions to quit.
My Thoughts As a former smoker, I think the tax increase is great. A price increase may be the driving factor for some people to quit. Even if I were a current smoker, I wouldn't complain about the increase. After all, you are doing something that is known and proven to cause health problems. I wouldn't want to my health insurance costs to increase to pay for the medical care of someone that knew the risks of smoking and chose to do so anyway.