Sunday, February 08, 2009


As of April 1st, all the fools out there who still buy cigarettes, will have to donate another 60 cents for that pack of death!

President Obama signed legislation that expands the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to cover more than 4 million additional low- and middle-income children across the country. The money will come from those sad pups who continue to engage in this suicidal act that has so much financial and physical impact on themselves and those around them.

The coverage here in New York wont get much of an upgrade because we already have the most generous benefits, but it will have a serious affect on the federal level where the Healthcare shortfalls need the most attention nationally.

Upstate, the average cost of the more famous brands of cigarette will be around $7.50 while the folks down in NYC will see prices around $9. Makes you wonder just how much is enough.

The American Cancer Society supports the tax hike, predicting it could get over 40,000 New Yorkers to quit smoking. The tax hike just last June did show a worthy decrease in sales, which, lets face it, if the money stopped coming in because of a successful cessation program, the need to replenish the tremendous drain on the healthcare system would fade as well.

There is another factor that most of us never think about: the tax collection on Native American reservations. From what I've read; Paterson also signed a bill that would prohibit manufacturers from shipping cigarettes to any wholesale dealer unless the dealer certifies they won’t be sold tax-free. In addition, "non-native" persons who purchase the cigarettes at a reservation, will have to spring for the additional tax stipulated by the State.

You will of course be surprised to hear that there are groups fighting this legislation. yep...The whole thing is in court just as we expected. The people who are most invested in continued dispersal of this addictive poison, want to continue the very practice that filled their pockets for so long. That's understandable.

Since I live in the neighborhood around the Kingston High School, I'll venture that I have seen fewer students smoking like chimneys as they had in years past. But it's still present as a noticeable crutch for the kids striving to be "cool". I bet it takes a big chunk out of their allowance.


Anonymous said...


I don't know quite what to say here... because I'm a smoker... and A HUMAN BEING...

Yeah, lots more money for T-FAC and such...

Whilst booze continues to be one of the number one killers with barely a squeak...

Prohibition has never worked in regard to anything...

Raising taxes in this manner - regarding one item (out of HOW MANY?) that are bad for our health IS DISCRIMINATION... [it is usually the poor that fall host to addictions to begin with) -

And your reference to the whole American Indian thing...

Let me say this: I am part American Indian (perhaps partly explaining my love of tobacco) --- and if folks want to do something to HELP the American Indians they need to GET THEM OFF THE RESERVATIONS (the closest thing the U.S. has to conservation camps, other than prisons) - and treat them with the RESPECT that they DESERVE.

Sorry for my tone and caps...

But I am having a BAD day - and some of this nonsense has gotten to be too much!

I smoke. I'm a horrible person because I smoke?



Anonymous said...

I am in a bit of a quandary. Although, I am not quite a Libertarian, I do become concerned anytime the government intrudes into people's lives.

But smoking is a nasty habit, leads to premature death and the taxes are going to health care for others.

What's next, though? Are they going to tax the potato chips I love so much? How about hamburgers, fries, pastry, buffalo wings, ...?

And if people ever stop smoking what will be taxed next so the government continues to have the revenue to which it has become accustomed.

Now I am confused and stressed. What will make me feel better, a celery stick or a bowl of ice cream?

Anonymous said...

I agree with n.s,i smoke,i know it's not healthy but i never crashed my auto due to smoking,never took a life while smoking,never been pulled over for smoking to much, get the idea.

Anonymous said...

Mike: The good news is that tax revenues will increase. The bad news is that smokers will continue to smoke- the real bad news is that KAPA not on the air to discuss this vital aspect of health- hey Thursday- at 5:30 the American Cancer Relay for Life has one of its committee meeting. You should attend, and then come to the KAPA meeting in City Hall at 7:00
see ya then,
Shelly Z

Anonymous said...


Something else I thought of...

OK, so they raise the taxes on cigarettes again...

Do we throw the poor folks that can't afford to smoke and start stealing smokes in jail?

What about the wealthy?

Oh yeah, THEY can still afford to BUY cigarettes...

So they don't have to worry about any of "that" messy piece of the "American Pie" do they?

This taxation stuff - in relation to cigarettes - truly is a bunch of bullshi*!



Then I won't smoke, the rest of the poor - working class - middle class won't smoke ---

And guess what - those that are well-to-do?

THEY WON'T SMOKE (whilst hiding in their closets!) either.

This (what is going on now) truly is DISCRIMINATORY!

It is selective punishment (via unfair taxation) geared at a specific portion (check out the research on who is most apt to smoke and why!) of the population...

And "it" (this discrimination against smokers) --- putting my own habit aside --- CAN and DOES result in HARM...

For example, I know a young woman with five children that was all set to go to a drug and alcohol treatment center a few weeks back - until they told her that she couldn't smoke cigarettes (the lesser of the immediate "evils", believe me...) there...

And that same gal - having had a complete breakdown, since... ended up in a locked psychiatric ward, instead.

Sure the cigs were just onr issue, but MIGHT THIS (having a mental / emotional / "pyschiatric" breakdown, being locked up, running the risk of being misdiagnosed, mislabeled and put on un-necessary and/or even harmful medications, more trauma and expenses (and tremendous sadness) for a family - and for a COMMUNITY (the government, via Medicaid or something of the sort) has had to pay for a psychiatric lockup AND a rehab now...) that sure can't afford it...)

Have been prevented?

Just something to think (in duplicate, triplicate, etc.) about!


Mike Madsen said...

The mother of five, did she smoke when around the children? Did she smoke while pregnant? The money she spent on cigarettes could have covered some form of health insurance I'm sure. Perhaps diapers?

The number of children starting smoking in high school is slowly dwindling. That's a good thing. Don't suggest we should encourage smoking in today's youth because it healthy. Didn't think so.

The tax [the great Obama tax] has the intent to divert those funds toward smoke cessation programs and providing an upgrade to children's health coverage. I see where people would get upset.

Tobacco is an addictive poison. The corporations that make this crap need you to continue smoking. You must obay! Ignore your doctor. It smells nice and does wonders to enamel.

Oh, a point about alcohol...there are taxes on every bottle of booze. I havent followed the journey of those tax dollars. But it's there.

Potato chips, burgers and fries at the restaurant are taxed. The bill at the end of your dining experience has a spot at the bottom where tax is added.

As the number of smokers goes down, the number of people who end up with the debilitating diseases that come from smoking will diminish. Thus the Billions the taxpayers spend on the uninsured smokers who succumb to these diseases will also diminish.

And the Native American issue was about sales of the poison to non-reservation addicts. Nothing focussed on any origin of ancestry.

Anonymous said...


All distractions aside, my friend (please don't take any of this personal) - I (removing those capitals...) repeat:

If they really want us to stop smoking - shut down every single cigarette company that produces cigarettes.


Then I won't smoke, the rest of the poor - working class - middle class won't smoke ---

And guess what - those that are well-to-do?

They won't smoke (whilst hiding in their closets!) either.

This (what is going on now) truly is discriminatory!


That said, as far as I know this young lady smoked outside, away from her children...

But she drank inside around her children...


That said, I would never ever encourage, in any way, a young person (or any other person) to start smoking...

And I'm all for smoking prevention programs geared, in particular, towards our youth.


As far as the funds from increased taxation being being diverted towards "smoke cessation programs and providing an upgrade to children's health coverage" ---

1. shut down (I repeat) the factories that produce cigarettes, and there won't be any need for smoke cessation programs....

2. one could get the money for an upgrade to children's health coverage (which I am all for!) through any number of different means - like a tax on the mega-wealthy (how about tapping into the "great" Pat Robertson's bank accounts?) - who can well afford (and they are so very "generous..." (ahem) too --- to give back to their communities.

Bad cranky day here, Mike...

But I still [in the best (friend to friend)] sense of the word" luv ya!

Anyhoot, want to see something TFAC should take a good look at?

Check out my blog - the video I'm about to put up - in a little while.


Anonymous said...


In your 6:31PM comment you compared the sales tax at the end of a restaurant bill to cigarette taxes. You have to know that is an absurd comparison in that sales tax is also charged on cigarettes even after all of the other taxes. Not to mention that sales tax is charged on nearly everything else we purchase, other then groceries.

I am not a smoker, neither is my wife and we don't allow smoking inside our home, but I still have an issue with the government hiding their efforts to increase revenues behind the facade of their concern for public health.

Even though I would prefer it if no one smoked, I still regard it as a slow erosion of our freedoms when these sort of taxes are levied.

Politicians seem happy to intrude into peoples lives as long as it doesn't affect the politicians themselves in any substantial way. But, when it does, they become much less concerned about the public good. Note as an example Ted Kennedy fighting against wind mills for electricity when they would be visible in the far horizon from his estate.

Anonymous said...

Mike why not lead the charge. No smoking on city property or any City vehicle. Too many people smoking on city time and not enough work is getting done.

Anonymous said...

5:29 You have the righr idea. Stop smoking on all city property. Teh high school students sit on the wall in front of city hall and throw there butts on the ground. I see DPW workers and there supeintendent (Steve Gorsline) smoking in these vehicles and throwing the butts out the window. Don't believe me. Just check the ash trays. Smoking is a nasty habit and as a law maker you should be looking out for the health and safety of city residents and workers. YES LEAD THE CHARGE MIKE BAN SMOKING IN ALL CITY VEHICLES AND PROPERTY. This is better than DiBella boom box law or Ringwoods grafitti law.

Anonymous said...

5:29 has a point.there is a law on the books about no smoking in fleet/company vehicles/cabs etc.yet we see this happening in city vehicles,smoking,no seat belt,talking on a cell phone.All 3 are in violation of the law.

Anonymous said...

Follow the county lead and ban smoking in all city vehicles and property. Why shuold we have to walk through smoke to get to work. Put up with foul smelling trucks from workers who just sit in the truck and smoke. Watch them litter the streets with there butts. This is a bad habit and should be stopped. I do not believe the union would stand in your way. They scream about safety issues then light up cancersticks and polute the environment. BAN SMOKING NOW

Anonymous said...

2:36 your habit have killed millions of people. Its called second hand smoke. Do you get the idea. You and the others that smoke have killed more people than what you are trying to justify. Quit smoking now and save your life as well, and more important, others too.

Anonymous said...

I agree that you should stop City workers from smoking in City owned vehicle,the smell stays in there for along time so when other workers get in the vehicle they are at risk,I think our City leaders owe it to the workers to look out for their safety,and the tax payers also.If the workers develope cancer we all have to pay for that.

laurie said...

I'm a smoker and my husband is a non-smoker. For those that value his opinion greater than mine, he also doesn't believe in cigarette tax.

We both wonder, as many others do, what's next? There are many health concerns and causes straining our dollars. How about your candy bar, polution(even just from our vehicles)or alcohol.

I spent some time doing research that I'd like to share.

The crusade against the tobacco industry began with a kernel of truth -- that cigarettes are a high risk factor for lung cancer -- that has exploded into a war driven by greed and bad science. In today's commentary, Robert A. Levy and Rosalind Marimont take a fresh look at the case against smoking minus the propaganda fueling the fire of debate. They argue that the claim of smoking causing 400,000 premature deaths each year in the U.S. does not hold up under close scrutiny.

The truth is that smoking-related deaths, even under the generous definitions used by CDC, are associated with old age. Nearly 60 percent of the deaths occur at age 70 or above; nearly 45 percent at age 75 or above; and almost 17 percent at the grand old age of 85 or above! Nevertheless, without the slightest embarrassment, the public health community persists in characterizing those deaths as "premature." Regrettable, yes; premature, no.

Teenagers die by the thousands in accidents, suicides, and homicides. But look at the information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]. Examining the age distribution of "smoking-related deaths," we discover that -- aside from burn victims and pediatric diseases -- tobacco does not kill a single person below age 35! Burn victims obviously don't belong among "smoking-related deaths" -- unless you believe that Philip Morris is responsible when a smoker falls asleep (maybe passed out from drinking!) with a lit cigarette -- and neither do the 1,591 infants under the age of one who were tossed into this category despite no proven relationship between parental smoking and pediatric disease.

By comparison, car accidents, suicide, and homicide kill nearly 97,000 people annually; but the average age at death is only 39. Contrasted with a 72-year life expectancy for smokers, each of those non-smoking deaths snuffs out 33 years of life -- our most important years from both an economic and parenting perspective. Yet states go to war against nicotine -- which is not an intoxicant, has no causal connection with crime, and poses little danger to young adults or family members. The unvarnished fact is that children do not die of tobacco-related diseases. If they smoke heavily during their teens, they may die of lung cancer, fifty or sixty years from now, assuming lung cancer is still a threat by then. No matter how you slice it, a high-intensity government campaign against tobacco -- in the guise of "protecting children" -- is disingenuous at best.

None of this is to suggest that the attack against cigarettes is entirely dishonest. Without question, the evidence is that cigarettes substantially increase the risk of lung cancer, bronchitis, and emphysema. But most deaths from those diseases occur at an advanced age. The relationship between smoking and other diseases is not nearly so clear; and the scare mongering that has passed for science is quite simply appalling. The unifying bond of all science is that truth is its aim. That goal must not yield to politics, and science must not be corrupted to advance predetermined political ends. Sadly, that is exactly what has transpired as our public officials fabricate evidence to promote their crusade against big tobacco.

Now here are some facts about alcohol:

More than 100,000 U.S. deaths are caused by excessive alcohol consumption each year. Direct and indirect causes of death include drunk driving, cirrhosis of the liver, falls, cancer, and stroke.

Youth who drink alcohol are 50 times more likely to use cocaine than those who never drink alcohol.

Traffic crashes are the greatest single cause of death for persons aged 6–33. About 45% of these fatalities are in alcohol-related crashes.

Underage drinking costs the United States more than $58 billion every year — enough to buy every public school student a state-of-the-art computer.

Alcohol is the most commonly used drug among young people.

Problem drinkers average four times as many days in the hospital as nondrinkers — mostly because of drinking-related injuries.

Alcohol kills 6½ times more youth than all other illicit drugs combined.

Why Raise Alcohol Excise Taxes?

In most states, alcohol taxes have not increased in decades and their value has dwindled with inflation. Dormant tax rates have also contributed to a gradual and substantial decline in the price of alcoholic beverages.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), lower prices on alcohol are associated with increased levels and frequency of drinking, particularly among underage persons. Aside from providing a source of new revenue, increasing taxes on alcohol will deter underage use, reduce traffic-crash fatalities and certain crimes, and decrease alcohol-related health problems such as cirrhosis.

The Federal Government imposes volume taxes on distilled spirits, wine, and beer that are in addition to State alcohol taxes. Congress raises the taxes only rarely. Federal excise tax policies have contributed to a significant decline in the real price of alcohol since 1960.

For instance, the Federal excise tax on beer amounts to about a nickel per drink-less than seven percent of the average price of a six-pack. Even with a Federal tax increase in 1991, the average price of beer has fallen by more than 25 percent relative to the Consumer Price Index over the past five decades. Had the tax kept up with inflation over the past 40 years, today's $18 per-barrel tax would total approximately $61.60, or $1.05 per six-pack, more than two-and-one-half times the current rate.

The "Factbook on $tate Beer Taxe$" provides comprehensive data on beer-tax rates across the country and examines the steady, inflation-induced decline in the value of those taxes to state government. The data reveal that 22 states have not raised beer taxes for more than two decades, and that one state, New York, has even reduced its rate. It shows how most states have ignored strong fiscal and public health rationales for increasing beer taxes.

So, why is it, if alcohol is actually killing our youth, not cigarettes, that people as a whole have jumped on the bandwagon to tax the hell out of cigarettes, but ignore the real killer?

I hope this post wasn't too long.