March 31, 2009

Raising the sin tax on cigarettes

Posted: 06:02 AM ET

President Obama has signed into action a federal excise tax on tobacco products that will raise the per-pack tax on cigarettes from 39 cents to $1.01. The money generated will be used to support health care for low income children. The tax is enough to put a dent in any smoker's wallet.

Smokers: Burned by the excise tax?
Smokers: Burned by the excise tax?

Alcohol and cigarettes have long been targeted for "sin taxes," and seen as easy ways to make money for states by tacking on an extra tax to the cost. But what do you think? Is this recent tax hike on cigarettes too much?

We asked Morning Express viewers to text us their thoughts, some of which are included below? What do you think? Tell us in the comments field.

- Smoking is the worst habit. It needs to be taxed highly to get people to quit altogether.

- I do think that smokers are being taxed too much! Although health care for kids is extremely important, it's not fair to tax something so hard to quit.

- Smoking is an addiction. Why should we tax an addiction? It's stupid! Why don't we TREAT the addict? Gene-Georgia

- The government has no business being a moral compass for smokers. This tax is easy money. Not enough people are willing to say enough is enough.

- I think the cigarette tax is great ... if you want to destroy the only US industry not laying people off.

- Tax tobacco and alcohol more I say. Those with vice should pay the price. - Rik

- We smokers are the last legal drug users that are always being punished. We know the health risks, but they are only our risks. My smoking hurts only me.

- If it's to help kids health insurance, they should tax toys not smokes.

- I am glad to know cigarettes are being taxed more. Maybe that will curb kids from starting. Travis Arkansas

- I decided not to have children so, why should I have to pay for the kids insurance just b/c I smoke, isn't that the parents responsibility? - Star of Tennessee

- Smoking kills in excess of 400,000 people every year! Why are we worried about tax on cigarettes when they should be made illegal!!! - Ian

- Why is it always cigarettes that are taxed? Bad food taxes should be raised! That’s what are really hurting America’s children.

- Legalize drugs then tax them like the cigs. Voila! The end of our country’s drug crises!

- I'm a smoker and I will happily pay more for my packs he it helps children.

- I have no problem with higher taxes on legal recreational drugs to expand health care for children. And I smoke. Maybe I'll finally quit. Shaun VA

- This tax that is coming will diffidently get me to quit. - Brandy Garzoria

- Why is it anyone else’s business that smokes? Yes I think the tax is absolutely ridiculous!

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Karin Jean Kell   March 31st, 2009 7:32 am ET

Let's see.... I lost my job to lay offs with no warning, the economy stinks, the Prez is quadruple taxing my cigs which calm my nerves (I know, I know, I need to quit), and now the Morn Xp Challenge is being taken away. Geez Louise, the sky is falling.... No more fun hope in the Challenge arena for the hopeless. Waaaaaaaaaa. kellc

Rufino   March 31st, 2009 7:35 am ET

Why single out cigarettes? How about liquor or junk food?

webbley   March 31st, 2009 7:58 am ET

I feel by increasing the tx on cigarettes they have created another problem. They are now putting the farmers out of jobs.When tax goes up who is going to buy?No product sold no jobs.

mike   March 31st, 2009 8:23 am ET

Smokers tax is ridiculous ..not only the federal goverment but by state. Wisconsin already added a tax of $.75 per pack ..where is that money going ? I can understand curbing kids from smoking but why punish everyone else that smokes? The people complain about health problems from second hand smoke ..but never think about how much pollution is coming out of your own car by the fossil fuels they burn..I don't think the hole in the ozone is from cigarette smoke but someone will blame it on it sooner or later ..

Irene   March 31st, 2009 8:53 am ET

Higher taxes on cigarettes is really a stupid way to be sure that more money goes to the government. The United States is the most "tax happy" country going. The President wants money for children's health insurance, but the tax is no guarantee that the parents of these children are actually going to purchase a policy. Insurance rates are outrageous already. Unless the government is going to make sure that each family has an insurance policy, I don't think that smokers should pay the price.

Sylvia   March 31st, 2009 9:29 am ET

The astronomical tax on tobacco is totally out of line. What will legislators think of next to tax an already OVERTAXED America?

Candy? It was just stated that during this time, we are turning to candy for comfort while people loose their jobs, homes, etc. Will they say, oh good, lets put a luxury tax on candy and how about another on fast foods and resturaunts because Americans need to loose weight.

Helping children with health care is the parents responsibility yes, and I do feel for the children whose parents can not afford it or lost it when the lost their jobs; however, what about the elderly who has gone through their life savings to pay for the astronomical cost of their medications in order to survive! Medications are way over priced in our country. What about the aging who cannot afford health care, are not wanted as employees due to their age and still cannot draw their social security which our goverment wishes to hand out to illegals now with medicaid and food stamps as well!

Yes, cigarettes is addictive, but they knew when it first came into being that nicotine was addictive yet they turned their heads the other way. Now, the cost of things to help people break the nicotine addiction is just as, if not MORE costly to purchase to get off them. Will they up the tax on those products as well?

Come on America, wake UP! How about voting to raise a special tax on goverment elected officials for taking pork bribes, for their extra marital affairs or for just failing to do what they promised they would do when voted into office? I bet if a tax like those came about we would see a goverment like the ones our forefathers built this nation on and thought that man would not become to laxed and greedy to allow it to come where it has. I am sure they are looking down and shaking their heads in disbelief.

Barbara Moorcraft   March 31st, 2009 9:53 am ET

To the smokers who have a problem with the tax, have you ever heard of second hand smoke. We are all affected by that especially children.

laurie   March 31st, 2009 10:11 am ET

i don't know where people believe that it's ok to raise the cig tax again' their reasons are untrue are goverment knows thaey can get away with it'. because they have brainwashed america. smokers can't pretty much smoke in public places. so no seconhand smoke effects. no buildings resteraunts etc. so no health concerns there. there are a million chemicals in food. that people are unaware of. obesity will cost more than cig smoke. people that smoke are already paying higher premiums. and these taxes are going to childrens insurance. thats why doctors are pushing these false effects of smoking.they know that these dollars put into the health system goes straight into their pockets. what a great way to boost their worth . americans fell for this hook line and sinker. my grandmother lived to almost. 97 yrs old smoked always and till the end and she didn't have any effects from smoking. didn't need doctors services.due to smoking . politicans and heath care. coned america. so if we smoke in our own homes and yards why do we have to pay higher taxes. i think we should not if its in our property. all states almost are smoke free so there is no reason . to charge us more. for use in our own homes. america should get smart. everyone just wants taxes on someone else but believe me their going to get you. somewhere where it's going to hurt you. see how you like to be told to take your lumps. bottom line my property where i can smoke should not be taxed higher unless we can smoke in public places and buildings again.

Lindsey   March 31st, 2009 10:13 am ET

If they are going to tax cigarettes, they need to bring down the prices of Nicorette, the patch, etc. so that people can afford to quit. People who think it's something you can just QUIT with no problem are very ignorant.

Stacy   March 31st, 2009 10:37 am ET

They have already told us were we can smoke and not smoke and we complied with that. Now they want us to pay more and still be limited on where to smoke. Yeah a lot of people will quit, so how are they going to get the money for kids insurance when no one is buying cigarettes.

momof2-illinois   March 31st, 2009 11:06 am ET

I feel the tax is ridiculous granted smoking and drinking are not healthy BUT you should not tax it more. Fast food facilities and the other heart attacks in a sack kill just as many people. They cause childhood obesity, and a number of other problems within America. Cigarettes are no bigger health risk then a lot of other things in the U.S. THERE ARE OTHER SINS OCCURRING IN THE HERE. TAX THE PEOPLE WHO CAUSED THE PROBLEM. DO NOT PERSECUTE OUR SINS IF YOUR NOT GOING INCLUDE PRIDE, LUST, GREED, SLOTH,GLUTTONY, ECT.. I am a mother of two young children and it is my husband and I's place to provide for them, we created them. I am not saying that help isn't appreciated, but you are basically stealing from another to help bail out the country. We are raising such a tax increase on "THESE SINS" that eventually we will be paying more in taxes then for the item itself. The Americans that want it raised didn't think it was right when the gas prices were through the roof, because it was something they needed, Well I am addicted to cigarettes and I feel I need them. Why don't you come u with a cost effective way to help us quit. This stimulus was suppose to help us, however you are taking it plus more from us to cover these taxes. So all in all it was no help, it just hurt us!!!

grandma of 5   March 31st, 2009 11:08 am ET

I have raised my children, I do not feel I should have to be singled out to help others raise theirs. If you are going to tax my "sins" then you should tax others also.

Stephen Coney   March 31st, 2009 11:10 am ET

Cigarette smokers have become modern day lepers. Keep raising the taxes till we all quit- then what? What industry will we tax out of business next? We better be thinking ahead because we need something to pay for all of Obama's big plans. However, we have a populus that thinks marijuana can be kept illegal AND be taxed.

Barbara Gunter   March 31st, 2009 1:21 pm ET

I am tired of being a SPECIAL INTEREST TARGET to pay for other special interest groups. I support my children and my grandchildren and several charities that support other children. I see the first 100 days of this revolutionary presidency will be one to remember not quite so fondly. By the by, priced quit smoking plans this morning and they cost more than the cigarettes AFTER the price increase tomorrow.

Greg   March 31st, 2009 1:22 pm ET

I believe that they need to tax the main cause of the problem. To me this should be all the fast food places with their $.99 burgers and the like. I see kids running around here in Southern California that are about a fifth of my age that outweigh me and they usually are stuffing some fattening food in their mouths at the time.

Ken Taylor   March 31st, 2009 1:44 pm ET

Why TAX just the smokers. Why not put a flat federal tax on all non-grocery and drug prescriptions period, with No Tax Write Offs for the wealthy. This way if a lower income individual buys a small fishing boat he would pay the same percentage rate as the wealthy person who buys a yatch, jet. condo or mercedes. I think its time to quit letting wealthy people write off luxuries as part of their business. Its time for our so called representatives to prepresent the people who elected them and to Stop passing legislation to benefit themselves.

DOROTHY GEE   March 31st, 2009 1:45 pm ET







Larry Sockwell   March 31st, 2009 4:21 pm ET

Make marijuana legal and tax the snot out of it as well. No more black market weed and the Taxocrats get a new source of voter support payments.

Nicotene, the addictive additive used in tobacco products should be made illegal. That's stop more than a few people from smoking. I don't think that will happen either because the Taxocrats would lose too much voter support money...and it's a good idea.


AARON JONES   March 31st, 2009 6:38 pm ET

when everybody quits smoking,where do these morons plan on making up that tax money ? whats next? think about it !

T Pawlak   March 31st, 2009 11:36 pm ET

I really am sick of the excuse of second hand smoke being the
problems for kids, the last I saw on our local news were kids killed
by Alcohol , the factor to it iis its hereditary, alcohol causes abuse. drunk drivers kill others before they kick there habit, raising the cost of
Alcohol seems to be fit with all the court costs related to the people
who have been under suspension or don't have a drivers license and
raise our Auto Insurance. If people wonder how the country got in the
mess it did was we gave our country away for greed. and now were
loosing it over stupidity. You can't smoke in public places so what are
they complaining about businesses loosing cutomers for? God help
us were our forefathers thinking like this when they dumped the Tea in the harbor?

MIKE COOK   April 1st, 2009 12:54 am ET


Ken   April 1st, 2009 5:17 am ET

I am sure the tax will only replace funds already being used to pay for medicare. now this will free up other funds so the Government can now get bigger in other areas. By the way I do not mind helping children of a family that's working and trying. But can not stand the thought of one more dollar being spent for a career welfare person.

Floyd   April 1st, 2009 7:26 am ET

It's sort of okay, since it helps children that arent covered by health insurance. But i'd like to see a layout of how much of that money is actually going to go towards healthcare. Hell, you can't make everyone happy, might as well piss off the smokers right?

Floyd   April 1st, 2009 7:29 am ET

If smoking should be banned because it kills 400,000 people a year so should cars, Ian.
Either way, Legalize Pot while you are at it, and tax it $2 per quarter ounce. See how revenue you gain then. Leave it up the employers to decide if they want to hire folk that cannot pass a urine test.

P cochran   April 1st, 2009 8:29 am ET

You're kidding! What happens to the ins. for the children when people quit smoking? Who is next on the hit list? Will the ins. cover the children of tobacco workers?

P cochran   April 1st, 2009 8:56 am ET

Michigan has a healh program for poverty children; as do most States. I'm not buying this Fed. ins. program. Where is the money really going?

Michael Page   April 1st, 2009 10:19 am ET

Enough is enough!! How many increases in the last year? Is this an attempt at a prohibition? Will this money really go towards health care and prevention? How about a "Fat Ass Tax" impossed on the millions of obese and over eating Americans?? Do they not cost the health care system billions a year??

Debra Kelley   April 1st, 2009 10:36 am ET

Taxing tobacco will help smokers quit, deter kids from smoking, and pay for the damage to kids' health caused by adults who smoke.

Joseph Franks   April 1st, 2009 10:39 am ET

Seems though every time the Government needs money the first thing it does is go after the little guy to foot the bill.
Oh they (Government) talk big about taxing the corperations and the big money guys but when the dust clears its the little guy who is holding a bag of broken promises and an I.O.U..
Obama has an agenda.
Ask yourself........Am I Next?

Joseph Franks
Melbourne, Florida

JennBrad   April 1st, 2009 10:48 am ET

I think the higher taxing is crazy. Think about it a minute. Smokers are ADDICTED to nicotine, meaning they crave it! Such as a pregnant woman might crave tacos. If a pregnant woman wants tacos they are going to get it right? Think about the kids whose parents (both) smoke, they are a low income family, and have no health insurance. Meaning no way they can pay $260.00 for a months supply ($130.00 each) for Chantix to help them quit smoking. Therefore they will continue to buy cigarettes and the children will suffer for it. Not that someone would do that intentionally to their children but, more than likely buy cigarettes before anything else such as food or clothes. Leaving less money to feed them or buy them clothes. I recently quit smoking and it took me 2 months with Chantix and it is not as easy as some people think it is you just cant sit them down or walk away from them as you would a snickers bar. Alcohols are expected to go to rehab to quit drinking and smokers are expected to just quit. No rehab for smoking.It is a process that takes time. Smokers are always punished and I think it is crazy.

randy   April 1st, 2009 11:24 am ET

everyone has missed the big picture here.... this tax ( as usual ) has targeted the poor... the tax on "roll your own" tobacco went from $1.09 to $25.00 the people who are struggling allready, and making their own cigarettes to save a dime, to eat , were HAMMERED with a tax never heard of in history !!! I am terminally ill, and even my doctor says smoking is the least of my worries, I was making my own cigarettes, my bag of tobacco went from $7.47 to $25.95 ... something is seriously wrong here........

Michael Voth   April 1st, 2009 11:53 am ET

A good alternative to paying the new tax- Grow Your own tobacco! You can probably guess I grew up in the 60's.

Brian E. Olson   April 1st, 2009 12:20 pm ET

First of all, I am a non-smoker. I smoked for 5 years and quit cold turkey. I have been quit for more than 7 years. That being said, no one is addressing the real issue here. The real issue is that the taxes on tobacco are unconstitutional. We live in what is supposed to be a free market economy. The "ideals" of politicians in favor of these taxes are pushing their opinions on US citizens and established companies. If it was up to these politicians tobacco would be illegal. I am a person who believes that personal choice, not government policy should determine what I do with my daily life. What is next? Do we make people who drive cars, surf in shark infested waters, work as crab fishermen in dangerous waters, or people who are overweight pay excessive taxes that prevent them from being in dangerous situations or doing dangerous things? Overweight people cost the economy much more than smokers, not to mention the cost of human disease and life. That is a slippery slope which I think leads to a government that has to much power over the daily decisions of all Americans.
As a side note, I am also against the government telling companies that they cannot allow smoking in their establishment, such as bars in California. If there is enough of a market for non-smoking establishments, it should be a decision that the owner of the establishment makes to, not the government. In that way the people who don't want to inhale second hand smoke can refuse to go to places that allow smoking and the market can change to accommodate the new market for non-smokers. Businesses would either make their establishment non-smoking or new businesses would open as non-smoking.
I am truly sick and tired of other people's opinions making decisions for others.

Greg   April 1st, 2009 1:46 pm ET

While I am completely in favor of helping those that do not have medical insurance. I do not believe that the burden should completely lie on the shoulders of smokers. While these taxes can help I believe we all own a piece of helping the less fortunate. I am not a smoker any longer and glad that I quit 30 years ago but I can tell you that raising the price of cigarettes while not cause a smoker to quit. They have to want to quit and have the conviction to follow it though. This will probably wind up as another patch to a bigger problem and will fade away into the hole where all other patches go. We need a fix for the situation.

MYCASU   April 1st, 2009 5:16 pm ET

I believe the tax should be increased but not that much. Smoking can cause health problems but I don't think raising the taxes on cigarettes is going to stop people from smoking. People may cut back on how much they smoke but they aren't going to stop all together because of the tax increase.

Tim the Toolman   April 1st, 2009 6:56 pm ET

When will people wake up? Once revenue drops from cigarettes the Powers That Be will tax something else "for our own good". I don't smoke and think it is a horrible habit, but I see a future that the gov will tax any product they see fit and punish a group that might be unpopular.

gary greb   April 1st, 2009 9:46 pm ET

When I first started smoking!!

Cigarettes were advertised on TV, billboards, magazines. John Wayne smoked. Does anybody out there remember "I Love Lucy"???
You know?? I would bet that "CREAM PUFFS" , french fries and hamburgers also create diseases. Lets be fair and add them to the
" SIN TAX" !!

Thank You Gary

Jeffrey Maddrey   April 2nd, 2009 6:35 am ET

This tax is going to hurt poor children and NOT help them. I have heard smokers talk before about the last tax increase. They told me that they are not going to quit smoking, that they would cut their budget somewhere else.

John J .   April 2nd, 2009 7:03 am ET

Health care for low income children. Translation-Welfare clients. Leave the smokers alone, take five dollars off the top of every welfare check and theres your health care funding. Also we put Obama in office to manage the country, not to start all kinds of pet programs.
This is just another buy the vote move on the part of the left.

Linda Melgaard   April 2nd, 2009 7:33 am ET

This tobacco tax brings to mind another situation. The Boston Tea Party. You know what that brought about. I never wanted to smoke but was told to smoke by a doctor. Now I am being penalized for following doctors orders. How fair is that.

John in Corpus Christi   April 2nd, 2009 7:47 am ET

First the Obama administration passes overnight legistation on the AIG bonuses retreival,(which should have been read before handing out the bailout money). Then the adminstration assigns a new CEO for General Motors, and now the sin tax on tabacoo. I feel the administration is swaying away from this country being a democracy and over using its executive power. Alcohol also has extreme health risks, whats next prohibition.

Delroy Gordon   April 2nd, 2009 8:15 am ET

I used to smoke Marlboro red one hundreds for many yrs. After the hike I switched to buglers and began rolling my tobacco. NOW they Have gone up to! I am a Iraq Vet and live in Hawaii, how much can they (the government) take before the people loose there minds?

Dohn Kyyoty   April 2nd, 2009 8:16 am ET

Overnite the cost of my smoking habit doubled. What was $14.99 for a 6oz can of tobacco is now $29.99. Thats ridiculous! Whats next, smokers have to sit in the back of the bus?¿

lynn   April 2nd, 2009 9:58 am ET

I say its Ok to tax the smokers BUT TAX the he## out of drinkers, adult clubs, hookers, and everything else I don't like also. Let the druggies legalize their drugs and tax the he## out of that too. And to make it even lets tax everything that SOMEBODY doesn't like, like your religion,your kids, your pets yes we can go on and on. I think I will take up smoking to support the health care system.

Tracey wright   April 2nd, 2009 10:53 am ET

So now I am to believe that increased tax on cigarettes is going to help me stop smoking? This "sin tax" is ridiculous and the very fact that they call it a "sin tax: is hilarious as the word sin has religious association and I thought we had a separation of church and state. All that aside If the taxe4s are supposed to help us smokers quit and help with child health care then shouldn’t someone look ino the fact that, i Texas, it is 6.22(with tax) for a pack of Marlboro red 100's and 29.99 for a pack of Nicolette. So until someone decides to lower the cost of aids to quit smoking will continue. And I will smoke anywhere I damn well choose, If i pay more taxes I should have more places I can smoke,

Betsy hamilton   April 2nd, 2009 11:34 am ET

This cigarette tax stinks more than my cigarette does. Why are we always the fall guys. Yeah lost my job ,losing my house and can't afford a smoke to calm my nerves.Tahks President Obama

paul novak   April 2nd, 2009 7:38 pm ET

President Obama promised change if he was elected,change definitely has happened since he can't smoke in the WHITE HOUSE everyone who smokes is being punished. I have no problem with supporting health care for children. If people want to smoke that is there freedom of choice in the U S A. Men & women have fought and given there lives to protect our country and freedom, if you want to help fund childrens health care, stop giving all the freebies to illegal's. Protect our borders. Quit wanting to play patty-cakes with rogue nations and dictators. Last but not least, maybe we should have a title change like royality, KING & QUEEN of the U S A . The word CHANGE one day is going to haunt President Obama. Here in Calif. we already have royalty KING ARNOLD. 4/03/09

kelly   April 2nd, 2009 8:35 pm ET

Look I smoke I have a kid my smoking doesn't affect my child in the least bit because I don't smoke around him and every person who thinks otherwise is a moron do you have visions of a smoking parent with a light cig in his or her mouth rocking there baby to sleep were not monsters. We get taxed to death to pay for other peoples kids health care give me a break I'm already raising my own kid why do I have to pay for your child to as for all of the people who are yelling second hand smoke last I checked most states do not permit smoking in public place are you going to say that my cig smoke drifted out of my car window on the freeway and into your car window on the expressway. cant wait tell the come after you nonsmokers going to be some funny s**t to hear you bitch and moan by the way they raised the tax on alcohol to I live in Ky isn't suicide for a state to over tax its two top exports.You know I hope they just make it illegal that and alcohol as soon as they do I'm going to start growing tobacco and bootlegging alcohol then I might make some money for once instead of working 5o hr weeks just to be broke then I won't have to worry about the fact that I'm laid off and there is no work .

B. David   April 3rd, 2009 3:06 am ET

first and foremost it is completely a predjudicial act to constantly raise prices for cigarette smokers. there is so much going on with unemployment, stocks, etc. and the government wants to tax smokers???? what it is, is that they are singleing out ppl with addictions and capitalizing off of it. they do it because they know they can. Its like the governer of NY who puts an extra tax on soda, because of what? to help ppl lose weight? what about the people who are sick and cant put weight on? why do they have to suffer? its all for publicity, these government people want to look like the GOOD people. but meanwhile they're acts are completely rediculous, they make enough money if they are so concerned lets see them dip into their wallets, instead of dipping and denting the wallets of the people who are unemployed and getting their houses foreclosed on!!!

Stew   April 3rd, 2009 5:01 am ET

I smoke and I wish these damn things were illegal.

At the very least the Gov't should mandate all manufacturers of materials that are ingested into the body disclose the ingredients and nutrition facts on the boxes.

I think if I read the side of the box and saw all the chemicals that were included in a smoke, I would probably choose to quick quicker than a lame duck tax.

Joe Grieger   April 3rd, 2009 9:18 am ET

The price of cigarettes did not go up this week!

I’m a little disappointed in the way this story is being played on HLN. I watch Robin because there is not a lot of the “fear” type of reporting, or so I thought. I will have to watch more carefully now.

I own a business that sells cigarettes in Florida and we did not put in a price increase. No local store I went to check on raised their price and there was no increase from my supplier, Sam’s Club. I even called my accountant twice to confirm I did not have to change any prices or tax reporting.

Yes the tax went up, however it is the tax paid by the manufacturer to the government. It has no effect on the consumer because if you remember, the manufacturer’s raised their prices over a month ago in anticipation of this increase. We raised prices then but not this time. If your store raised their price on you, shame on them, and you should call them on it. Just go to Sam’s Club and ask if they raised their price, the answer will be no.

Joe G.
Port Charlotte, Fl.

Laura   April 3rd, 2009 9:49 am ET

I quit smoking 4 weeks ago this coming Monday. There is no way I was going to try when the rest of the country does. Some of us have to keep our cool.

Donna E   April 3rd, 2009 10:22 am ET

This tax may do 2 GREAT things: it may stop teenagers from picking up this health-destroying habit, and it will help low-income kids finally get some health care. If I had known when I was a kid of the vile chemicals they put into the cigarettes (formaldehyde!!), and someone had really laid out the consequences (graphic pics of lung cancer, interviews with people dying from cigarette-related diseases, etc) to me at a VERY EARLY AGE, I might not have picked up the habit for 15 years. Between the ages of 20 and 35, I started out as a chain smoker, then went down to smoking while drinking. I haven't smoked for 15 years, but those years I did were wasted. I could no longer swim the length of a swimming pool (and I swam competitively in HS), I reeked of smoke all the time, my breath stunk, I had broncitis all the time, I developed asthma, and I poured hundreds of dollors into a black hole paying for them.

No one should defend smoking. When people say "they are only hurting themselves", it's a lie. You hurt everyone around you with: second hand smoke, you burden your co-workers with extra work when you are out with every lung related illness that comes along, you are a horrible role model for your kids, nieces and nephews (they look upon you with disgust), and you rob your grandkids of valueable time with you, because you can't breathe anymore. And then, you take money from every taxpayer when they are forced to pay for your SS Disability when you can no longer function because your lungs are shot.


The Great Turbana   April 3rd, 2009 12:32 pm ET

I smoked for years and it's a really stupid habit. I have been quit for years and am still broke. Well, I'd have to grow my own if I wanted to start up again.

Matthew   April 3rd, 2009 2:20 pm ET

Rufino said: "Why single out cigarettes? How about liquor or junk food?"

How about not tax anything? How about let the American people keep their money instead of giving away 1/2 of everything we earn to a large federal government? This is nothing more than legalized theft. I don't smoke by the way.

Russ Deible   April 3rd, 2009 7:54 pm ET

Question for everyone who hates smokers. Do you want your taxes to go up to make up for people not smoking? That is what is gonna happen. When a lot of people quit they are gonna raise tax on something else.

Deborah Lepine   April 3rd, 2009 8:03 pm ET

Iam a disabled smoker on a fixed income and they say the added tax is for childerens health care this is a lie I have ben reading that most of the sin taxes doesn't even go where it is supposed to go. Making the smoker pay for it is wrong its like you are being racist. The smokers didn't pay for my childs health care I did untill they were grown. I think we need to re elect others officals who are not biased to single out one class of people to be the scape goat. These people in office are making more money than we do but we must pay sounds like communist to me taxs till we bleed to death we all have the right to smoke or not to smoke.
D Lepine

Mike R   April 5th, 2009 7:17 am ET

The government should not be able to tax a legal product out of existence. I don't smoke and never have, but what next, a tax on butter. Taxes should have a cap and taxes on tobacco have went to many times the price of producing the product. People have to get through their minds that we are all going to die from something. The above comments say, well it is hurting others. Drugs are hurting people in others, yet the US government is not making a dent it the drug trade and even causing more harm in other countries. No people, get real. The banning of alcohol was mistake years ago and we are going down the same road again this time by trying to ban a product thru taxation. Alcohol does more damage than tobacco.

Karras Bommer   April 5th, 2009 10:55 am ET

Once again, in this society, it is the poor who pay the most. If one has money there are many options for stress reduction and enjoyment in America. It's another world among the is a world where that $4.00 pack of cigarettes and that $4.99 bottle of Merlot is affordable luxury. It is sitting out on the porch in the evening with that glass of wine and a smoke and feeling, just for a moment, better than poor.

This "Sin Tax" has nothing to do with anyone's health or the betterment of this society. The tax hits those who cannot fight back and it will always be that way.

cheri   April 5th, 2009 11:37 am ET

Personally I love to smoke and will never quit! It's a choice of life and my choice. I don't appreciate anyone teling me I can't smoke. The taxe on ciggerettes is ridiculous the economy is already so let's hike cig taxes....ya thats smart. I think our country in bringing us into another great depression. It don't matter cause in about say 6 months sales will go down and the ciggerette companys will suffer then they'll have to lower the price cause the economy will suffer from no sales of cigs which makes about billions and billions a year. I don't know why everyone is so fixated on smokers are we really that interesting.

Gary Tiller   April 6th, 2009 8:15 am ET

makes me mad as as you know what , and the argument about health care cost is a rididculus spin because smokers will probably die faster and therefore cheaper and trust me we all will die and non-smokers will linger longer and cost more , so i never want to hear that stupid argument again !

RITA LEONARD   April 6th, 2009 8:27 am ET


Rich   April 6th, 2009 8:51 am ET

I think this tax boarders on discrimination against smokers. It simply is not fair because it singles out a very select and distinct portion of the population and essentially punishes them. Granted, smoking is bad and the effects of smoking does place a financial burden on health care. But, that does not change the simple fact that it's not fair. I think that a tax should be applied equally to all, not a select few, not matter how unpopular the actions of those few are.

I think it would be much better to cut wasteful spending. There are many, many other ways to raise money. The only thing really beneficial resulting from this tax, aside from the money going towards health care is that it may lead to decreased smoking among teens.

RC   April 6th, 2009 10:05 am ET

I smoke. I know I need to quit. However, the taxation is out of control. The federal taxes are added onto the cigarettes and then at the register, sales taxes are added. That is double taxation. Hmmm....Taxes upon taxes.

If any taxes should be raised it should be on alcohol.

Gusto   April 6th, 2009 2:06 pm ET

The way health care is in our country it might seem like we need to tax cigarettes. Yes while it will benifit the younger dudes and dudets to get health care, I think we are taking the wrong approach on this deal. When the price of cigarettes go up the sales will go down. People will not be able to afford them at more than $5.00 a pack. Now I do not smoke so I really do not care if they get taxed, but there are better ways. Tax gas we all have spent 4 dollars a gallon already and I think we could cover a lot more people under insurance when gas is taxed. I do not understand why our country spends the most on healthcare yet are ranked 37th in the world. There is a lot of wasteful spending in insurance companies who are private businesses not even accepting the people that need the care. The best way to solve this problem with the kids and everyone in this country to be covered, almost all other countries in this world cover 100% of the people and pay less for care than us. So we need to all work together as a country instead of just watching our backs. So a universal plan with opt out would be the best way to fund care is to have a basic plan for everyone. I'm only 18 years old and I know that our system sucks, and medicade loses money every year, we need change fast, and taxing little things like cigarettes will get no where

Melissa   April 6th, 2009 3:59 pm ET

Ok people. if we smokers are being targeted to quit smoking just to pay childrens health care...its wrong. we ALL PAY TAXES!!!!! those taxes are wasted on stupid petty things like childrens health care...THATS NOT EVERY ONE ELSES responsibility. seriously. everyone should know that. Obama is the anti christ.

NatureSpirit   April 6th, 2009 8:46 pm ET

yes the taxes will only continue to raise in order to supplement the stimulus...Please give up smoking my brothers and sisters...Have you ever read what is in a cig? Its horrible...I pray you will find a natural way to deal with your

Mike   April 6th, 2009 9:23 pm ET

Of course the government is gonna tax smokers! I guess it's the only way to make money since the multi-billion dollar stimulus package hasn't done a thing for the economy! Still waiting for those millions of jobs to be created! Now my one escape from stress is gonna cost me more!

Crystal   April 7th, 2009 5:24 am ET

Why doesn't the government put a tax on blogs. How about ten cents for every word you type. Try that and see who craps clawhammers. Taxation is fine as long as I'm not the one paying it. How much deeper can the B.S. get before we start choking on it? This would have raised around 5 bucks for the gov.

ANNA LYNN   April 7th, 2009 6:41 am ET

I decided that I needed to quit after 20 years. with the economy i cannot keep throwing my money away. Chantix has helped me do just that. I highly recommend people see their doctors ASAP.

Johnny   April 7th, 2009 7:59 am ET

I think eventually, they should outlaw cigarettes completely.. The cost of the health care for people with lung cancer and heart disease from smoking results alone are outrageous. Taxing the smokers is 1 way to let them know ' Hey, stop smoking if you want to live longer'.. I am a non smoker myself, and I hate the smell of cigarette smoke, it makes your clothes stink, and makes your breath bad I am sure.. Nothing is more of a turn off than trying to kiss a female that has been smoking. BUt to get back to the outlaw of smoking.. I really think they should outlaw smoking completely to start saving more lives.

lolli sheldon   April 7th, 2009 8:46 am ET

I've smoked for 30 years and its 1 of the top 10 things I regret in my life. Tax me. I hope it gives me the push I need to finally quit. If not at least I know American children are getting some benefit from me.

Ken   April 7th, 2009 9:48 am ET

to those who spew about second hand smoke...where is your righteous indignation about the trillions of pounds of pollutants spewed into the air each year from factories? or from cars? the polluting of our waterways?.....the land of the free is no longer...its free only of you cow tow to others wishes.....Tax the rich they can easily afford it...after all Reagan and the republicans have cut taxes on the wealthiest by 89 % since 1980....if you are wanting healthcare for children..fine...demand and vote in UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE which will cost us all a whole lot less...see HR 676

Johnny   April 7th, 2009 3:59 pm ET

Some of you are complaining about cigarette tax, saying why not tax beer and food and everything else.. simple.. everything else is not killing people. Heart disease is the # 1 killer in this country. Ever see a person going through lung cancer? If smoking was 'Good' for you, there would not be warnings on the carton or pack. The smartest thing they did so far is banning smoking in public places. I used to hate going to a club or bar and smelling someones smoke from their nasty cigarettes. I have a neighbor that has been smoking all her life, and she is skinny and very unhealthy. You can't even go in her house for 2 min without choking from the cigarette smoke in the air. They need to ban smoking period before it costs this country even more money on the health care it costs for cancer treatment. Some employers won't even give you insurance coverage if you are a smoker, simply because it will cost them too much to treat you for cancer from smoking.. I hope there will be more and more law suits aginst the tobacco industries in the near future. I am just glad I am a non smoker, my dad quit smoking about 25 yrs ago, he told himself "i want to live and I don't want lung cancer".. He quit on his own, his will power, he just threw his cigarettes in the garbage and never lit up another one..he is still alive and healthy at the age of 67. Now my brother in law at age 47, he has been smoking a long time, he is a truck driver and has to get ODOT tests often, they told him during the physical he has the lungs of a 60 yr old.. Some people will never learn I guess until it's too late.

Donald Ernest LaFave   April 8th, 2009 10:22 am ET

I'm all for health insurance but i think every one should pitch in where do you get off enslaving a minority thats already enslaved by an addiction we smokers aren't the ones keeping the cost of health care high we pay in till we retire then we promptly die you non smokers are the ones with disposable incomes the same ones that will be sponging off the public till tell you are a hundred and ten and have your eleventh hip replacement

Wendy Coriell   April 8th, 2009 5:10 pm ET

I'm a die-hard smoker. Been doing it since I was 12 and plan on smoking even if I have to put a cigarette in a hole in my neck to get my fix. It's MY choice and MY choice alone. After a tax increase on packed cigarettes, me and many of my friends made the switch to bagged tobacco. Now the tax on that has went from $1.00 something per pound to $27 per pound. Health care for kids my foot, they have to replace the TRILLIONS stolen from us and generations to come to give AIG execs bonuses. (Though some of it may go to get more kids hooked on Adderol (METH in a pill, look it up) for so called ADHD.) Someone has to pay for those private jets, right? So in addition to local protests, I'll be starting a movement to get people to "grow their own" and sell it on the black market. I will become a "tobacco dealer" – the Ms. FeelGood of the Nicotine world. Ha! And for those of you saying "second hand smoke" – I'll blow smoke in your face since you're blowing it up my rear. People smoke in their homes, bars, and restaraunts that still allow us to do so...perhaps you should target something that ACTUALLY effects you, like PCBs or um....UNFAIR TAXES!!

Phil M   April 8th, 2009 5:17 pm ET

They have laws in place (in some states, do it in the rest of the states) so we can't smoke in public, so, the second hand smoke isn't / shouldn't be a problem. I can deal with that, it's the outrageous tax that burns my tail ! I would almost bet that a majority (definately not all) of those complaining about smoke, health, health care, etc. fall into the obese category and are voicing their "Bleeding Heart" opinion with a Double Cheese Burger in one hand and a Diet Soft Drink in the other ! Worry about you and yours and leave me and mine alone.

Cesar Marrufo   April 9th, 2009 2:02 pm ET

The reason why he's doing this is because people who are addicted to nicotine will buy cigarettes no matter what...

Paul O.   April 10th, 2009 5:28 pm ET

Anytime for whatever reasons you single out certain groups of the population then you are walking on the rights accorded us in the constitution we all need to consider ourelves no better or worse than the next person in our society. Otherwise one group at a time will have their rights slowly taken from them whether its smokers, drinkers, hunters, fishermen, hikers, dog owners etc. It's time for all of us to quit having the it does'nt affect me attitude.

Jinxx   April 11th, 2009 10:06 pm ET

I don't understand the so-called "sin tax" put in affect towards alcohol and cigarettes. I certainly don't get it that there is a much higher percentage of unemployed people are known to smoke and when I am faced with the option of food or a pack or cigarettes, as I usually am, I choose a pack. For 10 years now, I have chosen the pack. I don't think people should judge others due to what we look like or do with our own bodies granted I know it is bad for you and we all do, but for people to sit there and talk about "second-hand and even THIRD-hand smoke" is ridiculous. I don't know about anyone else out there, but I am only 22 and have been raised to 1) Not smoke around childeren AT ALL 2) when I am driving, I have a snapple bottle to put my butts out in; I refuse to throw them out my car window and 3) smoke in only designated areas and that's got nothing to do with the laws, it's courteousy. People talking about raising the prices to about $10 or even $20 per pack obviously have never dealt with an addiction before and I am very happy for you. You just probably have a healther addiction like hiking or mountain biking or something. Back to my origional topic, because of the price raising so rapidly, I know more and more people buying online, and what's THAT doing for OUR economy? There will always be a way to find things cheaper and people will always find it. Leave the smokers alone please, what did we ever do to you? Help cause "cancer"? You can supposedly get cancer from your microwave so maybe these overly-conservative people need to get rid of their own cell phones and microwaves and such before taking away the one thing that we use as our stress-relievers. You coffee-drinkers know what I'm saying... Actually, come to think of it, tax coffee!! That sounds awesome! I can honestly see if the prices of cigarettes keeps raising, it will be cheaper to go out and buy drugs and then tax payers would end up paying for about 20% if not more taxes towards people in rehabilitation clinics. I see people doing it even now, and this is the beginning. I'm young, I see a lot more than my elders do and I think this "sin tax" should just be abolished right now. It should never have been put into place to begin with and here's my main question... Where does this "sin tax" money go towards? Education? Rehab clinics? Hospitals? Road construction? Satanic-worshipping (It is a sin tax)?! If you decide not to publish this, I understand. I just want people to know this is going to get really bad and really fast and I strongly believe that if there is anything I still believe in nowadays. Please at least e mail me back and tell me where you think my taxes are going towards in this recession because I would love to know.

linda   April 13th, 2009 11:48 am ET

Get the Government out of our butts, as it were! It's campaign to pit people against one another is moving along quite nicely! All is in place for the cloning of Hitler's DNA it seems and the hatreds of WWII will pale in comparison! This really is a ploy to break the private property laws and protection Americans hold so dear, under the ruse of "child endangerment" and "second hand smoke." The overweight should be extremely nervous about now - they are the next group of victims and scapegoats! Especially those who are raising fat children! I often wonder which groups will rank #'s 3, 4, 5, etc.

I have no children, nor do I have health insurance. I thought I already paid my fair share of taxes??? I KNOW I contribute a good deal of money for the education and well-being of children I do not have and, that's okay! But why should I pay more for same than the non-smoker??? If this makes sense to ANYONE, please let me know!

Bottom line...give the Government more money and it will find a way to waste it and "blow smoke" up the asses of unthinking and self-righteous citizens who will believe anything they are told and are quick to find flaw in their "fellow man," apparently having no mirror handy!!!

carlos   April 13th, 2009 4:13 pm ET

i am a heavy smoker i have a cigarrette about every half hour since the new tax on smokes ive cut ddown but i dont mind the tax id rather pay taxes to help children than to feed and clothe rapists and murderers in prison.

Cody   April 14th, 2009 9:21 am ET

Smoking is a bad habbit, but isnt over eating on fast food every day some kind of sin? Maybe speeding tickets should cost more since it is against the law and so much more likely to cause injury or fatality to inocent people

lindaharbison   April 14th, 2009 10:16 pm ET

I dont think cigarettes should be tax beer should be

Kimberlee   April 15th, 2009 1:25 am ET

Since when did the American people "elect" a moral monitor? We smokers certainly never "elected" to ban smoking but, ban it they did. It is like the government has it in their collective heads that the American people are like children and must be told what to do, when to do it, and never given a reason to do it. Did that stop us from enjoying something that is legal? Nope, not by a long shot. I use to live in Long Beach, CA and woke every morning to that brown, lung congesting, throat clogging stuff they call smog. Now we all know that the smog is caused by the stuff coming out of the millions of cars, trucks, trains, planes, and factories and it gets mixed in with the water vapors coming in from the ocean. We also know that to breathe that stuff can and does cause illness. But is it caused by cigarette smoke – nope. Next thing you know, the government will try and figure out how to keep the fog from rolling in and mixing with the big polluters, because those are the "secret" funders of many politicians.
Raising taxes on tobacco products will only add to the economic crisis we find ourselves in by causing the lay-off of tobacco company employees, which will add to the unemployment lines, which will put many generational tobacco growers out of business, which will add to the foreclosures, which will add to the already mounting bank closures, which will add to the economic crisis. When will it all end? I will tell you when it will end, when the American people, and I ain't talking about the upper middle class and the rich, stand up and tell the government we have had enough of you running our lives. You can no longer interfere in my personal life by banning my cigarettes. You can no longer interfere in my life by telling me I cannot drive a big rig just because I am fat. You can no longer interfere in my life by taking over the air waves and causing me to spend money you won't give me and I don't have to get a special box just to watch my news. We, the American poor and lower paid people want the government – city, county, state, and most of federal – to give us BACK the right of free choice the key word being free. We want back the right to dictate and vote what laws the state legislations are passing. WE WANT THE RIGHT TO STAND UP AND SAY "I AM MAD AS HELL, AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!"
Where is the backbone that our ancestors had when they settled this country, or when they fought against tyranny and won, or when they seen an injustice and corrected it – all without the government say so.


kristy   May 2nd, 2009 4:41 am ET

I want to know when the goverment is going to start taxing twinkie,!!!fat people cost this counrty way more in health care costs. And its the leading cause of death.

julie   May 13th, 2009 3:42 pm ET

I smoked for almost 10 years and I quit cold turkey with no help from anything. It was hard but I did it. I like taxing cigs because people should pay extra for being unhealthy, we as a community, as a nation are going to have to pay for their health care someday when they have emphaszema (sp?) and can't work.

Darrell   June 2nd, 2009 10:46 pm ET

It's a SIN TAX, what happen to seperation of church and state?

scott   August 24th, 2009 1:22 pm ET

They cant keep taxing alcohol and cigarettes. Instead of singling out drinkers and smokers, its time to start taxing soda and junk food which can be just as bad for a persons health and effect a larger number of people. Im tired of arguments that it will adversely effect the poor. They don't have to buy soda they can drink water. Just because people are poor doesn't mean they shouldn't face consequences for being fiscally irresponsible. And do you realize how many people on welfare smoke and drink? Whats the point of raising sin taxes when our tax money is buying the products in the first place.

Kyla Volino   October 16th, 2009 1:04 pm ET

if you make cigarrettes illegal than your laying off so many people who work in the tobacco industry. if you tax higher than your discriminating against all the smokers. so i think we should stop with all the bad publicity about smoking and worry about the fast food that our american children are eating which is putting them into the hospitals. hence health care for children should look someplace else for a little extra cash. thank you.

Larry Welton   January 7th, 2010 3:00 pm ET

the amount of taxes put on Ciggeretes is the most unfair Tax ever to be put on 25 percent of the people of the United States..For child ins.100 persent of people should be paying for ..God does not tax our sins why should our Goverment

R.R.W   January 26th, 2010 4:15 pm ET

If the government want to help the people with health care why don't they take a cut in paid to help with it. they can live on what we live on why do we need to paid our tax money on high wage's for them when we could be paid for health care and more with 1/2 of the wage's cut. They want make new tax's laws in place , Let start with white house and then go down from there. why don't they make law about how must Dr. can bill you for a office call. and on surgery health care cost so must why should let take a look at where all our tax Dollas are going to see what we need not only look at little people but the higher up. health care cost so must. Thin smoker can get the help the need to quit smoking or make it free for them. if you want to help them with it.

natilie   February 10th, 2010 8:35 pm ET

Umm.. yeah not only are they taxing smokers but alcohol as well. And i personally am 100% pro sin taxes...not only is the smoke from a cigerrette killing you slowly, its killing everyone esle around you especially those with weak immune systems and asthmetics....GO SIN TAXES!!!!!!!

David   February 21st, 2010 11:11 am ET

Why is it the smokers are forced to pay for every new program that the government comes up with? I think you should take the things related to outcome, for instance tax gas and fix roads. Tax cheeseburger and fight obesity.

Not tax diapers and pay for a war.

Not tax milk and build a bridge

Laura Wright   May 13th, 2010 3:50 pm ET

I'm sick of new taxes. Plus, I've seen these kinds of funding mechanisms before. The Lotto in Texas was supposed to help fund education, but what the Leg did was put the Lotto money in the education fund with one hand and take the same amount out with the other hand to use elsewhere. Education didn't gain anything. I'd like to see proof that it was actually going to do what it's supposed to do.

robert   October 27th, 2010 9:31 am ET

i beleve they shouldnt poot a sin tax in cigurets. When thers all the peopl dieing on alchohol.We all need to just throw the alchohol away its killing and the government aint doin sh.. abou it.Ask yourself how many people that you've herd about dieng or going crasy for the use of canibase none not one deth and thats a true fact.think about all wat does the real harm...........Robert Winstead

roger allen   November 9th, 2010 1:45 pm ET

why isn't the tax paid by the smoker put into a health account for the payer in the case that the smoker does get sick from smoking. If the smoker does not have dehabilitating illness's from smoking, pay the money back to the smoker.

Keith   December 2nd, 2010 9:16 am ET

To be honest, my parents smoke.. and its horrible. smoking in general is disgusting but still, its ya'll choice and nobody can cahnge that. taxing cigarettes more is completely logical. cigarettes is one of the major income bringers to the U.S and its also one of the highest killing drug. i'm sorry for all ya'll smokers for getting addicted to this nasty drug. but if this is what it takes to help pull us out of this huge debt then i say hell yeah, tax cigarettes more.

John C   April 8th, 2011 5:04 am ET

With cig taxes getting so high and non-smokers whining I have had enough.I quit smoking after 34 years. Electronic vapor sticks helped me quit btw.(this also helped 14 other people quit smoking I know personally,been cig free for a year)

I wish they would tax alcohol as much as cigs and why are alcohol commercials still being advertised?
It should face the same restrictions as cigs period.

While we are at it put a higher tax on soda and junk food.

ghaylene buccola   April 9th, 2011 6:31 pm ET

It's a fabulous idea-double the price of cigarettes,, half going to taxes-a good percentage of smokers would eventually quit-it should be on alcohol,sodas, energy drink,sex toys, video games and fast food-which are all un-necessary purchases-gas guzzling cars and trucks, too until we get a handle on this economy. How many trillions do we owe China???? I would sort of like to leave my children in a solvent country!!!!

Melissa   November 1st, 2011 12:53 pm ET

Yeah, lets tax the smokers Mr. President, then maybe you can use the money to cover up or replace all the money that so frequently dissapears, while you are running our country.

glasspoet   December 3rd, 2011 11:49 pm ET

Car wrecks kill more people. Tax cars enough to make people quit driving!

The government sued the cigarette companies is a deal where they could then run ads to shape public opinion in preparation of having an UNLIMITED tax source. Now every non-smoker thinks they have more rights than smokers. Its so cool to bash smokers. Excellently planned brainwashing by our government!

I'm a smoker and sick of your better than you comments and your taxes!!

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