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A new poll came out this morning showing Minnesota's Democratic Governor Mark Dayton well positioned for re-election in November.  The Koch Brothers haven't gotten their claws into the voting public yet with a barrage of attack ads, but even Dayton himself acknowledges that if and when they do, he expects his approval numbers to drop and his re-election contest to tighten.  Looking over the comments section of the article about the poll results, one poster suggested a potential Dayton vulnerability being the passage of the largest cigarette tax in American history.  Another fired back calling that unlikely because "I don't know anybody who smokes anymore", meaning the issue wouldn't resonate with enough of the population to swing an election.

I happen to agree that the cigarette tax increase could be an under-the-radar issue that hurts Dayton, which I'll get to later but I'm struck by the extent to which I see middle class people with stable life circumstances pontificate on how they don't know anybody who smokes anymore.  Obviously the rising tide of public smoking bans is the biggest factor here, but most telling is the extent to which cigarette smoking has been excised from middle-class life and now exists predominately as a pastime of those on society's margins.  

You want to know who still smokes in America today, Mr. Middle Management from an upscale suburb?  It's the drive-thru lady at McDonald's who just handed you your morning coffee.  It's the CNA wiping your grandmother's ass every day at the nursing home.  It's the wife or daughter of the guy whose mug shot you just saw on the news recently arrested for spousal abuse or incest against a minor.  It's the middle-aged lady at the bus stop in a wheelchair with progressive MS who hasn't been able to walk for 10 years.  It's the nervous-looking guy outside of the mental health clinic who you can tell is "not right" when you walk by him on the way to the office.  It's pretty much all the people who Democrats, liberals, and progressives SHOULD be noticing and SHOULD be lending a helping hand to, and the fact that we've become a party that "doesn't know anybody who smokes anymore" makes it a lot easier to view the "others" who still smoke as merely a financial resource for government to exploit so that they have to pay everybody else's freight.

Deep down, I knew we had a problem a generation ago when the Democratic coalition couldn't win elections without the help of the "college boys".  Now I'm a college boy myself, albeit one with working-class roots who refuses to forget where he came from.  But it becomes a lot easier to see why self-described Democrats/liberals/progressives "don't know anybody who smokes anymore" when the Democrats can only win national elections by running up the score on Long Island to compensate for all the votes they're losing in West Virginia.  This schism has largely been formed by the usual suspects of culture war issues, but also speaks to the extent in which the Democrats have gotten into bed with the big money of Wall Street, blurring the lines of who the party truly represents and creating a scenario where one faction of the party's natural coalition has become so invisible that another faction--the one that's winning--can't point to a single person in their network of friends, family, acquaintances, and coworkers who is among the 18% of Americans who still smoke.

Interestingly enough, Minnesota Governor Dayton is actually someone from the "college boy" wing of the Democratic Party who did have a tangible and seemingly empathetic connection to recognize the moral hazard of governing in a way that targets the lifestyles of those on society's margins for a path-of-least-resistance revenue windfall.  He has a personal history of substance abuse and mental illness, a history he used on the campaign trail in 2010 to sympathize with the plight of other addicts and decry a campaign opponent's unconscionable call to exploit addiction by balancing the state budget on the backs of low-income smokers. After getting elected, Dayton swiftly broke that promise and actually raised the cigarette tax by a larger amount than the campaign opponent he excoriated was calling for. And on top of it all, the blood revenue Dayton raised with this predatory tax against the very people who used to sit next to him in addiction clinics went towards corporate welfare packages for one of the nation's largest health care corporations and a billionaire professional sports stadium owner, completely undermining Dayton and the progressive movement's posture about fixing "inequality".

I mentioned the politics of the cigarette tax hike potentially making Dayton vulnerable, but the irony is that the Republican Party may be even more out of touch with winning over the votes of the "invisibles" to recognize and exploit the gift-wrapped political golden goose they have, pointing out that Minnesotans with an average income of $20,000 per year are paying hundreds more in taxes per year to bankroll a Mayo Clinic expansion and a new Vikings stadium.  Any opposition party on any side of the political spectrum that doesn't recognize the potential to poach votes from the other side by pointing out the sinister hypocrisy of the aforementioned policy should get out of the business of politics, but so far there's no indication that Minnesota Republicans have recognized the need to appeal for the votes of the "invisibles" whom the middle-class commuters "don't know of".

I no longer live in Minnesota but Dayton's willful cynicism is the final straw for me.  Here's a guy who has been immersed in the marginal world of early 21st century smokers and still seems them as path-of-least-resistance cannon fodder to hold harmless the middle-class commuter demographic who "doesn't even know anybody who smokes".  Obama was recently a smoker himself and has likewise been calculatingly vicious to the "invisible" people he deems easy to take for granted, never campaigning on cigarette tax increases in either 2008 or 2012 but putting cigarette taxes near the top of his policy priority list about five minutes after both his election and re-election.  Observing this, it's hard not to be equally cynical that the only reason politicians are moving towards support for marijuana legalization is so they have another way to separate some knuckleheaded 18-year-old kid from $5,000 per year of his money, and then earmark that money for crony capitalists the represent the important members of the "new" Democratic political coalition.

These are the actions of a party--and arguably an entire ideological movement--that has lost its moral compass.  And it goes a long way towards explaining why the more Democrats talk about fixing income inequality, the more lopsided income distribution actually becomes.  You can be a political party that makes a good-faith effort to reduce inequality...or you can be a political party that cherry-picks the lifestyle choices of working-class "invisibles" as the primary source of new revenue the government collects.  But you don't get to do both.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I have mixed feelings about alcohol and tobacco (5+ / 0-)

    taxes, and "sin" taxes in general.

    Our current tax system is (supposedly) set up to reward good behavior and discourage bad. That's why social conservatives love tax cuts that reward marriage and shit; they actually believe that creates an incentive to get married.

    I'm not saying it never does, but I think only a small minority of marriages are done for tax purposes. There are certainly more that happen for medical benefits, but whatev.

    I dunno. Tobacco tax certainly does have a disproportionate burden on the lower class, but at the same time, most of these are enacted with programs to help those who want to quit, quit.

    Yeah..... I have mixed feelings.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 12:30:53 PM PST

    •  U.S. Military provides direct financial benefits (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau

      ...for servicemembers to marry, and they tend to marry young.  Of course, this trend can't be separated from the risk to life and limb inherent in military service--and not just from warfare.

      http://www.military.com/...

    •  If that were true then the (0+ / 0-)

      workers wouldn't be paying more for the privilege of living in this country than the idle rich pay in polo fees. Really.

      There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. - Will Rogers

      by Joieau on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 02:43:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I smoke (5+ / 0-)

    Many of my friend smoke, though more of them don't.  None of my immediate family smokes now, though many of them are exes.

    I smoke because I want to, fully understanding the risks to my health.    

    Some people tailgate, some people never really exercise, some people have unprotected sex with strangers, some people don't wear seat belts, some people eat most of their meals from fast food places and get like 5 veggies a week instead of a day.  Some people carry weapons, some people seduce children, some people buy lottery tickets.

    I don't do any of those things that also have adverse effects on one's health, but I smoke.

    And I don't feel marginal, tyvm.

    If I have any spit left after I've licked my own wounds, I'll be glad to consider licking yours. Peace.

    by nancyjones on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 12:58:37 PM PST

    •  Whether Or Not You Feel Marginal..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Munchkn

      .....you're amongst a demographic that is viewed as and treated as such, particularly by politicians using you as an ATM machine so that other people don't have to pay their own freight.  I would think that's something more deserving of being insulted about than the diary's recognition that the vast majority of people in America who still smoke are from the bottom end of the income and political stature scales.

      •  And I think that's bullshit (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        exlrrp, marykk, Munchkn, lightarty

        People with money are just better able to hide the fact that they smoke and are willing to since it became unfashionable a few decades ago.  Is kinda funny that weed's getting fashionable now... it was only "marginalized" people who smoked it for the past dozen decades or so.

        If I have any spit left after I've licked my own wounds, I'll be glad to consider licking yours. Peace.

        by nancyjones on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 01:20:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I am upper middle class (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mark27, lightarty

        6 figures.

        And I am able to mold my own environment to suit myself.

        I have never been marginalized.  Some have attempted.

        I am also able to pay the taxes, then though they do not go towards what they claim.

        Many cannot.  And you are correct - that is the problem.

  •  This is a common misconception about smoking (0+ / 0-)

    There are other ways to ingest cannabinoids than smoking the dried female flowers and leaves of cannabis plants. There are also other ways to ingest nicotine that are growing in popularity while smoking has been waning in popularity over the last decade because of these tax increases. Taxing smoking products is a good thing and needs to be continued so that smoking continues to become less popular. After all, that's why we tax stuff...to discourage it's use.

    Just because people have smoked both cannabis and tobacco in the past doesn't mean that they will in the future and it definitely doesn't mean ending the prohibition against cannabis plants and increasing taxes on cigarettes are even close to similar things. There are over 50,000 products that can be made from the cannabis plant and cannabinoids are medicinally beneficial while the nicotine in tobacco is a neural toxin and the tobacco plant is almost useless except as a producer of nicotine. Your argument really makes no sense. We are not criminalizing tobacco products we are just taxing it.  

    Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

    by RMForbes on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 01:14:20 PM PST

    •  Your Reply Ignores the Core Argument..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catesby

      .....an argument that centers around the sincerity of the Democratic Party in serving the interests of those it purports to when the very first place they go for new taxes is the most regressive tax in existence against the most marginalized demographic of Americans.  Your own stated theory on taxation of "taxing stuff to discourage it's use" serves as a template for expanding regressiveness in tax policy to target the cherry-picked nonpuritanical behavior of the month that the working class dares to dabble in as the place where government chooses to insert its revenue straw.

      Adding insult to injury and further validating my thesis, you also use the diary as a springboard to endorse your own "drug of choice" and given a lengthy justification why it's nothing like what "those people" who, unlike you, "deserve to be taxed" are partaking in.

      •  Your pemise is invalid (4+ / 0-)

        Smokers are a drag on our economy and it makes sense as a society to discourage smoking anything. I support laws that would tax recreational herbal cannabis products designed to smoke. You ignore the fact that vaporizing has become more popular and has led to more people quitting their nicotine addiction because of these high taxes on cigarettes.

        I was an employer for over 20 years until I was forced into retirement in 2011 by my health. I had significant problems with nicotine addicts needing to go on a smoke break every few minutes. They were by far my least productive workers, they took on average more sick days than non-smokers and their health insurance cost us more. It got to a point that I would not even hire smokers at the end.

        You also don't understand that herbal cannabis plants are not drugs...you like many here fall into the rhetorical trap created by the mythology of marijuana. Like the drug in tobacco is called nicotine, the drugs found in cannabis resins are called cannabinoids. You sound like you don't think we should end a prohibition because we tax other legal substances that are used and abused by lower economic households. It's plain ridiculous.

        Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

        by RMForbes on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 01:53:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well..... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Munchkn

          The actuarial evidence shows that smokers are the opposite of a "drag on the economy", at least under the health care metric, by running up $100,000 per capita lower lifetime health care bills than healthy weight nonsmokers.  And I'm also calling bullshit on the idea on the productivity metric you're arguing.  First of all, as an employer, why didn't you simply refuse to allow your employees to take breaks outside of their allotted time rather than simply whining about too many smoker employees taking more smoke breaks than the nonsmokers?  I certainly don't make excuses for any smoker leaving his or her post at work to take extra breaks that no other employee gets, but I've worked at a number of places and have never once been at a place where smokers have the ability to set their own break schedule.

          Beyond that, as the scope of "smoking-prohibited" venues grows, it means that smokers in the workplace have further to go on a smoke break to indulge their habit/addiction.  If an employer keeps expanding the distance an employee has to walk to be able to legally smoke, then the smokers' "declining productivity" becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.  That seems to be the modus operandi of the antismoking movement....every "solution" produces a whole new "crisis".

          As for marijuana, an argument I always make towards supporters of legalization (and that very nominally includes myself) is that every consumer product in existence eventually gets consolidated into the hands of a few giant corporations.  I promise you that legalized marijuana will not be the exception to that rule, so enjoy the days of small Colorado vendors selling pot-infused gummi bears while you can because the unholy alliance of corporate America and a greedy government looking for easy "sin tax" revenue join forces, you won't even recognize the legalized marijuana product left behind.

          •  So I guess you never worked in a high tech (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            roberb7

            environment? We took breaks when we needed them and didn't operate around a rigid schedule. There was no way we could enforce a single 10-15 minute scheduled break every four hours like a factory or a retail store.

            You got to be joking that smoking is the opposite of a drag on our economy. Anyone that has worked in a workplace with smokers knows the truth. Smokers take on average several more sick days than non-smokers. Nicotine addicts are also far more likely to have significant substance abuse problems. All of my friends that died because of substance abuse were first addicted to nicotine.

            Employers should not need to make special accommodations to their employees addictions. If an employee has an addiction that requires them to leave their workplace, that's their problem. It's not up to the employer to provide a space for them to satisfy their addiction especially when their addiction has health risks to anyone around them like smoking does.

            You just don't understand that marijuana is only a slang term and it does not mean the same thing as cannabis plants or THC. The recreational smoking of herbal cannabis plants is only a small part of the uses of the cannabis genus of plants. The psychoactive cannabinoid drug, THC, found in cannabis resins is only one of over 80 medicinally beneficial cannabinoids and the only primary cannabinoid that is psychoactive. Ending this prohibition against cannabis plants will create hundreds of thousands if not millions of good green living wage jobs because cannabis is also hemp. But that doesn't support your flawed premise, does it.

            Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

            by RMForbes on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 03:41:18 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Correct On The First Point..... (0+ / 0-)

              I never worked in a high-tech company.  Not sure why it would be harder to enforce break rules there than any other company.  I've also worked in white-collar settings and can't even imagine leaving the office every half hour for a break without repercussions from the boss.

              I won't argue with you that smokers are more likely to abuse other substances, but using your logic isn't that an argument to tax alcohol into oblivion as well since abuse of that substance would also lead to "lower worker productivity"?  On the general metric of "lower productivity" you're probably partially right regarding smokers, although the allowance of unauthorized break times and enforcement of "tobacco-free campus" rules I suggested before both represent productivity losses of choice by the employer.  But beyond the very slippery slope of "worker productivity", the usual metric of "externalized costs" deployed by antismoking advocates relates to health care, which the actuarial data definitively contradicts.

              As for your cannabis fantasyland of loosely regulated hemp harvesters whistling while they work and filling the town square with vendors of homegrown pot selling amongst each other without any corporate and government interference in sight, good luck with that.  Within five years of national legalization, you'll have exactly two sources of legalized cannabis product....Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds.

              •  There are over 50,000 products that can be made (0+ / 0-)

                from cannabis plants. We already have several American businesses that produce hemp products but the raw materials have to be imported from Canada, China or Europe because we haven't been able to grow it here until just recently. Just about everything we now make from timber and petroleum can be made better and less expensive from the cannabis hemp plant.

                Hemp composite plastics are over 10 times stronger than steel, are less expensive to produce than carbon fiber composites, are dent resistant and don't shatter in a collision like fiberglass composites making hemp composites a natural lower cost green alternative for automotive body panels. Also cellulose plastics biodegrade down leaving no toxic waste products like the plastics produced from petroleum. We could also save our forest lands by growing hemp as a normal rotation crop and using the short fiber hemp pulp to produce a higher quality and more recyclable paper product.

                An acre of hemp produces 4.1 times the amount of paper pulp than an acre of timber in just 100 days using only a small amount of the caustic chemicals needed by timber cellulose to produce a paper product. When we grow hemp we don't need to cut down our forests. Hemp is a sustainable green economy crop.

                As for your misunderstanding of my vision of a more likely recreational herbal cannabis marketplace, you are completely wrong. I'm all for government regulation of the production of commercial herbal cannabis products very similar as we currently control the beer and wine industry. In recent years the big breweries have been losing market share to small craft beers as have smaller wineries gained market share. I see much the same dynamic working in the herbal cannabis marketplace. The day of the monopolies are numbered and I believe the end of the prohibition of cannabis plant will help accelerate that trend.  

                Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

                by RMForbes on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 04:41:16 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The number of products that can be made (0+ / 0-)

                  from cannabis is completely irrelevant to the health aspects of smoking it.

                  •  The health aspects of smoking it is irrelevant to (0+ / 0-)

                    maintaining the prohibition. Besides there are less negative health issues created by smoking cannabis than smoking anything else.

                    I personally don't recommend anyone smoke anything but in a major study over two decades with over a thousand participants they concluded that even heavy cannabis smokers developed serious lung problems at the same rate as the control group that smoked nothing but lived in the same environment. Even those that smoked both tobacco and cannabis showed lowers lung disease rates than tobacco smokers alone. The cannabinoids in cannabis resins seem to have pulmonary protective properties just like their well know neural protective properties.  

                    Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

                    by RMForbes on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 08:13:26 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  I owned a high tech company (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mark27

              And I would say you are wrong.  Smokers are far more likely to work longer hours, and provide more productive work during their time than non-smokers.

              While the non-smokers don't take breaks, but stand around chatting all day.

              And I never saw any difference between the sick days between them.  I have smoked for 35 years.  I have taken less than 10 sick days.

              I think you have a bias.

          •  Do you have a source for this? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            akeitz, OrganicChemist
            The actuarial evidence shows that smokers are the opposite of a "drag on the economy", at least under the health care metric, by running up $100,000 per capita lower lifetime health care bills than healthy weight nonsmokers.
            With about 10 seconds of looking I found a generally reputable source that indicates otherwise.
            The cumulative impact of excess medical care required by smokers at all ages while alive outweighs shorter life expectancy, and smokers incur higher expenditures for medical care over their lifetimes than never-smokers.

            To be first in the soil, which erupts in the coil, of trees veins and grasses all brought to a boil. -- The Maxx

            by notrouble on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 04:45:25 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Isn't dying early just another tax? (0+ / 0-)
            ...by running up $100,000 per capita lower lifetime health care bills than healthy weight nonsmokers.
            Let's be completely honest here--you are talking about how dying early from smoking reduces health care drag on the economy.  That strikes me as the ultimate in regressive economic policy, and it most affects the very demographic you wish to protect from tobacco taxes.

            Two years ago my mother died from lung cancer and emphysema caused by 35 years of heavy smoking.  And yes, she lived at the marginal end of the economic ladder.  Before cancer killed her, a series of strokes took her mobility and part of her mind.  It was an ugly existence and an ugly end to a beautiful lady.

            I suppose that if tobacco taxes never existed, my mother could have afforded to smoke herself to death a decade earlier, and perhaps prevented her expensive post-stroke health care needs.

            "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

            by DaveinBremerton on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 08:05:56 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I Suppose You Could Look At It That Way..... (0+ / 0-)

              I don't because for me personally, living to be a centenarian doesn't seem that appealing, particularly with the explosion in Alzheimer's and dementia rates that has come with increased life expectancy.  It strikes me that the human body is lasting unnaturally long while the human mind is not keeping pace.

              But to your main point, I think it's folly to believe the demographics I pointed out in my diary will go through life vice-free in a world more stressful for them than ever before....and I think it's particularly delirious for progressives to believe they should be censured for not living puritanical lifestyle.  With all of the vices out there, tobacco smoking still strikes me as the least destructive, so if a smoking habit helps an abuse victim or mental illness patient get through the day, frankly we should be offering them a light!

              Ultimately your position is based on the premise that not only smoking, but "naughty behavior" in general, can be made to disappear with a heavy-handed set of state-sanctioned penalties against those who don't live a Big Brother-approved lifestyle.  This logic strikes me as the same thing that drove Prohibition nearly a century ago, and particularly when it drives politicians to exploit smokers as a financial resource for path-of-least-resistance revenue windfall, I find that far more unethical than the human toll incurred from smoking.

              •  The number of people vaping for economic reasons.. (0+ / 0-)

                ...suggests that high tobacco taxes do indeed influence behaviors.

                And no, my premise does not include behavior other than smoking.  You may try to extrapolate it that way, but doing so makes it your premise, not mine.

                "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Gandhi

                by DaveinBremerton on Mon Feb 17, 2014 at 09:44:47 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Drag on the economy: (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mark27, RMForbes, notrouble, Munchkn

          Obesity has now surpassed smoking in terms of economic cost:

          http://www.reuters.com/...

          Penalizing people for unhealthy behaviors is a slippery slope- and likely to have a disproportionate impact on the poor.

          •  But fat people don't pollute unless they smoke nt (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RMForbes
          •  I know many obese people that also smoke, (0+ / 0-)

            they are not mutually exclusive groups. Taxing smoking products has been working over the last decade to reduce nicotine addiction in America. It has been working so well that American Tobacco Companies have been moving into developing countries to addict new customers. As long as this trend continues why should we not continue the tax policy that discourages smoking?

            I'm not saying we should tax E-Cigarettes at sin tax levels because low or no nicotine products are available this way which becomes another vehicle to end nicotine addiction. I'm just saying the current tax policy is working and should be continued.

            Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

            by RMForbes on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 04:01:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Answer..... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              chicagobleu, Catesby

              ....to "As long as this trend continues why should we not continue the tax policy that discourages smoking?"

              Because it's unethically taking advantage of people's addictions for revenue.  If tobacco companies are profiting 25 cents per pack of cigarettes sold but the combined take of federal and state extortionists in Minnesota is $3.84 per pack, who's the real "merchant of death" here?

              •  thank you for mentioning (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mark27

                the unethical advantage taken by capitalizing on an addiction. I would suggest the tax is not to encourage people to stop smoking but to reap more inevitable dollars from their sad addiction. And frankly, there is not a concentrated effort to help people quit.

                you get what you give

                by chicagobleu on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 04:48:45 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  You can simply avoid the tax by rolling your own (0+ / 0-)

                or vaporizing. Most of the truly poor nicotine addicts already roll their own and avoid the taxes you say hurts them so. I think you are really pissed because you are the one paying the taxes. I doubt if you really care about creating good living wage jobs produced by ending the prohibition of the cannabis genus of plants that will help raise these people out of poverty.

                Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

                by RMForbes on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 04:53:02 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  From What I Understand...... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Skyye

                  ....the only reason roll-your-own wasn't taxed out of existence is because RYO tobacco distributors cleverly avoided the 2009 federal tax increase (it was something like a 20,000% increase....$50 in taxes per bag) with a loophole recategorizing RYO tobacco as pipe tobacco and thus exempting it from the tax.  The government will close that loophole at any time if it's unimpressed with cigarette tax blood revenue returns.

                  And the same predators are already on the case dreaming up ways to apply the same sin taxes on electronic cigarettes.  I don't think we're yet to the point where they won't be outlawed entirely if their market share rises to the point where the cynical elected officials who have already mortgaged their budgets on expectations of robust tobacco tax revenues feel threatened that their "sin tax" house of cards might collapse on them.

                  •  Not true, you can go to any tobacco shop and buy (0+ / 0-)

                    pipe tobacco without the added chemicals in it to keep it burning like they have in cigarettes and buy a pack of Zigzags without paying this sin tax. You can also get rolling machines and filters if you want them there too. The tax is not on tobacco but on primarily cigarettes since they are the real problem.

                    I guess we just see the world differently, I truly believe the tobacco companies got what they deserved when they began adding nicotine to cigarettes to make them more addictive and began adding carcinogenic chemicals to keep the tobacco burning when it is put down. They really deserved the corporate death penalty IMHO.

                    Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

                    by RMForbes on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 05:43:22 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Here's The Loophole I Was Referencing..... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Skyye

                      http://www.cbsnews.com/...

                      You seem to know some specifics about this so we may be talking about the same thing, but if the RYOs increase market share at the expense of corporate cigarettes and deny Uncle Sam enough blood revenue, I maintain this loophole will be closed.  Kind of surprised it hasn't been already.

                      I actually agree with you that the tobacco companies are getting what they deserve.  In fact I think they deserve much worse, as the government effectively granted them a monopoly in exchange for the profit-sharing arrangement of the 1998 tobacco settlement.  I also think that the lies the tobacco companies told about the nature of their product opened them up to litigation and they should be held liable for all them.  Where we disagree is that the price for the tobacco companies' past sins should be paid by the low-income and mentally ill demographics that disproportionately represent modern smokers.

                      •  I don't think the real target of this sin tax is (0+ / 0-)

                        poor people but instead young people. The goal is to keep teens from getting addicted in the first place and it seems to be working. If I'm right there is no real reason to close the pipe tobacco loophole.

                        Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

                        by RMForbes on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 07:56:36 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

        •  Strange (0+ / 0-)

          before smoking bans went into the office, as a business owner of 25 years, smokers were my most productive workers.

          I will still only hire smokers.

    •  Most people who smoke (0+ / 0-)

      are not doing it for the nicotine.

      Ask any reasonably educated doctor.

  •  I know people who smoke. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akeitz, OrganicChemist

    They are killing themselves.

    Taxing tobacco is a good thing, despite its unequal impact.

    •  Isn't That Just As Easily Grounds To Justify..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      high uintas

      .....taxing Olympic skiiers?  Or racecar drivers?  Just like smokers, they're also killing themselves or at the very least passing on an outsized insurance bill to the rest of us.  Why shouldn't they be "taxed for their own good" just like the $10 an hour employee who smokes cigarettes?

      The "unequal impact" is what's driving this diary and what is making a fraud out of false flag progressives who can't get enough railing against inequality in one breath and then calling for yet again more regressive tobacco taxes in the next.

      •  No. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        akeitz, Skyye

        Tobacco is chemically addictive, and not a "personal choice" like various sports, which you ignore throughout.

        •  Arbitrary And Self-Serving Distinction..... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          high uintas, Catesby, Skyye

          ......especially since addiction comes in all forms to different people.  It's mostly just a front for arguing why "the other guy deserves to pay taxes" that "I" don't, regardless of ability to pay.  And frankly, the whole premise of using tax policy as a club to "make the sinners right" is something out of the James Dobson playbook.  Take cigarettes out of your language and fill in the blank with just about anything else and it would read like a religious right manifesto.

          •  It would (0+ / 0-)

            be interesting to see how much tax breaks and crop subsidies the tobacco industry enjoys..

            Just saying

            It appears from wiki, first read that the farm bill still covers a percentage of taxpayer money.

            I would guess, and yes it is a guess.. still looking around the net. But I would guess the manufacturers of cigs and snuff and chew etc.. still get tax breaks that all other corps do?

            If this is the case, well consider the concept of the user paying taxes and then additional taxes at the store and additional insurance premiums.

            •  Not Understanding Your Logic Here..... (0+ / 0-)

              Are you suggesting that because millionaire tobacco growers and billionaire tobacco companies are getting subsidies that that means tobacco users earning $8 an hour should be paying higher and higher taxes to compensate for it?  Sounds like a plutocrat's dream come true.  Why not just nix the subsidies and call it even?

              •  Quite (0+ / 0-)

                the contrary.

                I actually feel to single out one sole category of additions to be fined (as in ACA) or additionally taxed in a hard to grasp fair concept, especially if the notion is due to health burden.

                Have you noticed the long long list of potential health hazards and potential damage for Rx drug Advertisements?

                Not saying that Rx drugs don't have their place at times but.. just saying.

                •  oh and the real point was (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mark27

                  the taxpayers have to provide money to grow it, or whatever the excuse is, (if the wiki is correct) via taxes.
                  The corporations that manufacture the tobacco products, get corporate welfare of taxpayers dollars, along with the rest of the Corporates, through loopholes and write offs and whatever all they get.

                  The the user gets to compensate AGAIN, when they buy it, after they are addicted.

                  Sorry didn't clearly address my original point in the first reply to you.

          •  It's actually a scientific distinction (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            indubitably, akeitz

            based on studies, not opinion.

            Goodbye.

      •  false analogy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        roberb7

        Olympic skiers and racecar drivers are covered by insurance that will pay for their hospitalization so they won't be a cost for the rest of the public----smokers are not.
        what Olympic skiers and racecar drivers do has zero effect on the health of others

        The actuarial evidence shows that smokers are the opposite of a "drag on the economy", at least under the health care metric, by running up $100,000 per capita lower lifetime health care bills than healthy weight nonsmokers.  
        Are you kidding me?  are you saying that, all else equal,  a smoker runs up $100K LESS of healthcare costs in a lifetime than a "healthy weight "nonsmoker? That's completey wacked.
        Either I'm not reading that rightly or that may be the dumbest thing I ever saw on DK
        I call BS---prove it

        Smoking cost the United States over $193 billion in 2004, including $97 billion in lost productivity and $96 billion in direct health care expenditures, or an average of $4,260 per adult smoker.

        Secondhand smoke involuntarily inhaled by nonsmokers from other people’s cigarettes is classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a known human (Group A) carcinogen, responsible for approximately 3,400 lung cancer deaths and 46,000 (ranging 22,700-69,600) heart disease deaths in adult nonsmokers annually in the United States.
        OK now tell me something: how many lung cancer deaths per year are caused by "healthy weight" nonsmokers

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 04:10:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Huh? Smokers Are The Only Demographic..... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catesby, Skyye

          .....with institutionally inflated insurance rates.  They pay more for their insurance than does Bode Miller or the 18-year-old participating in his hometown stock car races, not less.

          As for smokers running up $100,000 lower lifetime health care bills, here's your proof.
          http://articles.boston.com/...

          The article answers your final question about lung cancer deaths for healthy-weight nonsmokers.  Lung cancer is a cheap and quick way to go compared to a decade of intensive care for a nursing home patient with dementia or Alzheimer's.  The latter is where the real health care bills are run up.  This is not to promote cigarette smoking as a means to a cheaper, earlier death, but to discredit the false notion that smokers have a larger health care cost footprint than the rest of the population when they in fact have a smaller footprint.

          •  First of all (0+ / 0-)

            I said all else being equal.
            That means that if a smoker lives to be 70 and a non smoker lives to be 70, the smoker will have accumulated a LOT more health costs at the rate given above of $4260 per year.

            "It was a small surprise," said Pieter van Baal, an economist at the Netherlands' National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, who led the study. "But it also makes sense. If you live longer, then you cost the health system more." But because both the smokers and the obese people died sooner than the healthy group, it cost less to treat them in the long run.
            Youre talking about the Dutch Health system: Risk variances between private health insurance companies due to the different risks presented by individual policy holders are compensated through risk equalization and a common risk pool.
            You say the non smoker lives longer so he incurs more health costs but he also pays more insurance premiums and taxes due to his longer and healthier working life, as a matter of fact he pays for part of the smokers health in a common risk poolbecause of that. That extra $4620  per year cost of the smoker doesn't come out of no where. In Obamacare, healthy people (think: healthy nonsmokers) will also subsidize unhealthy ones (smokers)

             

            Happy just to be alive

            by exlrrp on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 07:59:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You need to read this PDF warning (0+ / 0-)

              http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/... LIFETIME HEALTH COSTS OF SMOKERS vs. FORMER SMOKERS vs. NONSMOKERS]
              The best source we have found for estimates of the difference in the average health costs of smokers versus nonsmokers is Hodgson, TA, "Cigarette Smoking and Lifetime Medical Expenditures, Milbank Quarterly, 70(1): 81-115, 1992. The following table shows the Hodgson study estimates of the excess average healthcare costs for male and female smokers compared to nonsmokers. Using the current ratio of male to female smokers of 56:44 produces the related weighted averages for all smokers. These estimates are all in 1990 dollars.
              Higher Smoker Health Costs (1990 $)
              Lifetime
              Males
              $8,638
              Females
              $10,119
              Weighted Average
              $9,292
              Updates to the Hodgson Study Estimates
              Until more recent estimates worth using are produced, it makes sense to update the Hodgson
              Updates to the Hodgson Study Estimates
              Until more recent estimates worth using are produced, it makes sense to update the Hodgson estimates to account for inflation and to make them more comparable to other smoking-caused healthcare cost estimates that are being used by policymakers, public health advocates, and others. To do that, we follow the example of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), which recently increased its estimates of state smoking-caused healthcare costs to 2004 dollars using the consumer price index (CPI) for medical care. Using that formula produces the following updated Hodgson estimates in 2004 dollars, with each medical care dollar in 1990 equal to $1.93 in 2004 dollars. [See CDC, Sustaining State Programs for Tobacco Control: Data Highlights 2006.] Rounding down is done to be conservative and avoid overstating the health care cost reductions from reducing smoking.
              Higher Smoker Health Costs (2004$)
              Lifetime
              Lifetime – Rounded Down
              Males
              $16,708
              $16,500
              Females
              $19,753
              $19,500
              Weighted Average
              $17,973
              $17,500
              Estimates for Former Smokers
              The Hodgson study did not provide estimates for the healthcare costs of former smokers -- which must, on average, be somewhere in between the smoker and nonsmoker costs – and we have not found any data specifically on that point. But CDC has published estimates that smokers have a 50% chance of dying from smoking, with former smokers having a 10% to 37% chance. [MMWR 45(44): 971-974, http://www.cdc.gov/... November 8, 1996.] Applying that death-risk ratio to health costs suggests that former smoker’s higher health costs would be 10/50 to 37/50 of a smoker’s, producing the following estimates.
              Higher Smoker Health Costs (2004$)
              Lifetime
              Lifetime – Rounded Down
              Former Smokers Excess Costs
              $3,595 - $12,789 (Avg: $8,122)
              $8,000
              Savings from Quitting
              $5,185 – $14,378 (Avg: $9,851)
              $9,500
              For related supporting studies, see Nusselder, W., et al., "Smoking and the Compression of Morbidity," Epidemiology & Community Health, 2000; Warner, K., et al., "Medical Costs of Smoking in the United States: Estimates, Their Validity, and Their Implications," Tobacco Control 8(3): 290-300, Autumn 1999, http://tc.bmjjournals.com/....
              January 17, 2008

              Happy just to be alive

              by exlrrp on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 08:06:52 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It Isn't Completely Clear In The PDF..... (0+ / 0-)

                .....but my suspicion is that this study employs the usual sleight-of-hand that antismoking groups use to make it look like smokers are responsible for higher health care costs, offering a gross figure rather than a net figure that presumes nonsmokers lifetime health care costs are $0.00.

            •  Well All Else Will Never Be Equal..... (0+ / 0-)

              ....because the average healthy weight nonsmoker has a life expectancy 10+ years longer than a smoker....and that's where the cost differential comes in.

              And you're correct that there's a health care funding differential between the Netherlands and America due to the insurance industry middleman altering the economics of American health care.  Certainly for the insurance companies, who are only on the hook for health care costs incurred by working-age Americans under the age of 65, there is a vested interest in demanding "healthy lifestyles" for their clients and then dumping a lifetime of elder care expenses onto taxpayers vis a vis Medicare.  But the only people saving money under this premise are insurance companies....because taxpayers are still on the hook for the higher Medicare costs that come from a nation of octogenarian dementia patients filling up nursing homes faster than they can be built.

              The average life expectancy of a smoker, the last I saw, is 66 years.  That means that on average, a smoker pays an inflated health care premium his or her entire adult life.  And from what I've heard, Obamacare permits a further spiking of insurance rates on smokers to 150% the premium of nonsmokers.  This will even further force the unhealthy to subsidize the healthy.

    •  And I'm troubled by the push back against taxes (0+ / 0-)

      Raising cigarette taxes is a proven way to prevent teen smoking and to goad smokers to quit. From a financial standpoint the habit of smoking is very, very bad, so pricing it out of reach of teenagers so that they don't get hooked is also a good thing.

      Smoking  is an odorous habit no amount of hygiene and air fresheners can hide. Oh heck the freshers on top of the awful cigarette smell get me even more nauseous than the cigarette smell which really does.  Rich or poor, I don't like to hang out with smokers, so I was really, really glad when the last of my circle of friends finally quit last year.

      I strenuously disagree with anyone who would say that regressive tobacco  taxes aren't progressive.  I want my air clean and tobacco free thank you.  Make the patches and gum tax free and push the hard core addicts to that so they can hopefully quit or at worse stopping polluting the earth.

      •  Again If You Replace "Cigarettes" With Just About. (0+ / 0-)

        .....anything else your language here would be excoriated by fellow progressives as Dobsonian puritanism and legislating morality.  

        And what I find most disgusting about the mindset of people like yourself demanding that tax policy be weaponized to "civilize the savages" is that there will be collateral damage in your tireless financial assault of smokers who either can't quit or for whatever reason continue to smoke.  Should the children suffers for the "sins" of the parents, because your tax policy preference amounts to taking food out of their mouths to punish mom's addiction to nicotine.

        •  shorter mark27: "wahhhhh" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OrganicChemist, roberb7

          I don't give a fuck HOW people prevent smokers from smoking: it's a stinking foul habit that sickens people and generates a shittonne of litter.

          Taxing it at 10,000% would be fine by me.  Prison terms, even better.

          •  Prison Terms Huh? (0+ / 0-)

            Please tell me that you're one of the crowd of marijuana legalization advocates insisting that the existing marijuana prohibition is filling our prisons with nonviolent offenders.  PLEASE tell me that you're that much of a clueless hypocrite.

            I'll hold you and your tirade up as Exhibit A of the hopelessly confused state of the modern progressive movement, a movement that I recognize less with each passing day.

          •  Or, we could do this instead (0+ / 0-)

            How about if we just abolished all taxes on tobacco altogether? I mean completely. All federal and state taxes. Would that make the Mark27's of this planet happy?

            And here's the punch line. (Drum roll, please.) After this happens, how many months will pass before tobacco is no longer a legal product?

            I say "six".

          •  Oh man- you just hit (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lightarty

            the bottom of the slippery slope with that prison terms suggestion. Where would you draw the line with filling our prisons with even more non-violent offenders? Who would pass your test of non-criminality?

            What about obese people who are making themselves sick and sending health care costs through the roof-and adding a ton of pollution from the vehicles that require extra fuel to carry their asses around? What about people who drive gas-guzzlers (usually because that's all they can afford)? And alcoholics- shit they're killing themselves too, and messing up the lives of everyone around them. We've already got lots of drug addicts in jail, so you're off to a good start there.

            Lock 'em up, throw away the key, and you can live in your perfect little sweet-smelling world (assuming you don't have cats in your house). Total insanity.

        •  Smoking is the most odorous of the "sins" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          indubitably, Matt Z

          I mean that.  Okay maybe not -- I'd also put a huge sin tax on air fresheners too.  It's not about savages, it's about how your habit isn't as solitary as you'd like to think it is, so spare me your martyrdom speech.

          F*ck it the children of the smokers DO suffer.  My cousin spent his entire childhood wheasing with one bout of bronchitis after another because auntie was a chain smoker.  I've already argued to push the patch and gum without the tax to goad those who smoke to switch to non-polluting forms of their nicotine addiction.

          And never mind the children -- cigarette litter is also a problem -- a fire danger and a danger to animals who come across the litter, eat  it and suffer nicotine poisoning.

          •  If We Taxed Things That Are "Odorous"..... (0+ / 0-)

            .....we'd be taxing asparagus and sauerkraut.  If your best argument on why low-income smokers should endlessly be on the receiving end of new smokers is because it "smells yucky", it speaks volumes of your immaturity and lack of seriousness.

            Just as unserious is the "litter" argument.  Not until the last few years have the antismoking fascists dreamed this up as yet another front to persecute smokers, despite millions fewer smokers littering millions fewer cigarettes than in generations past.  But let me guess, you also support the expansion of outdoor prohibitions and the removal of ashtrays from every venue possible, assuring that more butts will be littered and thus assuring more invective thrown smokers way.  As I said elsewhere, every "solution" creates a brand new "crisis" in the war on smoking...and that's entirely by design.

            •  So you're against bottle deposit laws too? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Matt Z

              It's not just a yucky smell. IT MAKES ME NAUSEOUS! Sorry your freedom does not entitle you to make my life miserable via your stink.

              I want harm reduction -- so I want fewer smokers, fewer cigarettes/cigars littering the earth because at least here in Virginia there's still a ton of tobacco litter and brush fires caused by tossed cigarettes.

              We tax bags to prevent litter.  We have bottle deposits to prevent litter.  So your argument against taxation of cigarettes/cigars to cut down on tobacco litter is a weak tea indeed.

              •  A Lot of People Get Nauseous From Legal Smells.... (0+ / 0-)

                Perfume has not been criminalized because the odor makes some people nauseous.  The smell of peanuts is enough to kill people with serious food allergies, but it's neither been taxed nor outlawed in public places.

                The caliber of cherry-picked "harm reduction" you advocate is not consistent with a free society.  The natural endpoint of a society where "your rights end where mine begin" is a society where nobody has any freedom to do anything.  The cost of living in a free society is that something somebody is doing may offend you.  In the interest of a more peaceful and tolerant coexistence, we just have to put on our big boy undies and suck it up sometimes.

                •  I would regulate perfume actually (0+ / 0-)

                  It's a serious issue we're polluting the air with carcinogens in  these cheapo air fresheners and perfumes with wacky scents far beyond  the traditional florals of years ago.

          •  Smokers seriously stink (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Matt Z

            And  cigarette smoke? I can be driving down the road, stop at a stop sign and smell someone smoking a cigarette in the next lane and two cars down. I can smell it across parking lots.

            And just try getting the smell and the residue out of a house. I had a friend who bought a house from a smoker---my friend wasn't a smoker, yet she stank like a smoker for months after she moved into the house.

            •  The More You Prima Donnas Decry The "Yucky Smell" (0+ / 0-)

              .....of smokers in your most hilariously non-ironic Marie Antoinette despair as being your primary motivation to behave like schoolyard bullies towards smokers "two cars down from you", the more you confirm the point of the diary.  A progressive movement that hits the pause button on fixing income inequality because "poor people stink" is a movement too immature to be taken seriously and has gotten too personally detached from those it purports to be helping.

          •  True litter issue (0+ / 0-)

            heres a nice link for a terracycle brigade. They are doing some cool things all around. Check out the site if you like to recycle. They provide the shipping, so that is awesome to me.

  •  You are right on all counts (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark27, indubitably, Skyye

    First, I smoke so lets get that out of the way. I don't drink so at least I'm not paying those "sin" taxes.

    People are turning to e-cigs and vaping so the talk is turning to taxing that. Since those users aren't falling under the second hand smoke banner or even the nuisance banner then the only thing left is punishing someone for being an addict.

    Morality taxes. That's all they are and yes, it goes mostly to those who can least afford to be taxed more.

    And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

    by high uintas on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 02:13:40 PM PST

    •  The First Step To Reducing Income Inequality..... (0+ / 0-)

      .....is for false flag progressives to quit exacerbating the problem with their tax policy.  This is why I hope Mark Dayton loses in Minnesota.  The monstrous act of betrayal and cynicism he waged on Minnesota smokers should not go unpunished, no matter how much I agree with him on most other issues.  Unless there's a voter backlash against tax policy this regressive and predatory, would-be "progressives" will see it as a green-light to keep doing what they're doing, all the while publicly railing against inequality.

      I hate to say it but as the persecution of the working-class in general and smokers in particular with a "civilize the savages" tax policy rises in prominence more each year on the Democratic policy platform, the more of an irreconcilable difference it becomes for me with the party.  Voting Republican is not an option, but leaving large sections of my ballot blank is.

      •  I can't agree with turning from the party (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mark27, notrouble

        but I do believe in communicating your displeasure directly to them. I don't know how much it will work, it is now a class issue as well as a moral issue.

        And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

        by high uintas on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 03:59:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  And we disagree again ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      high uintas, notrouble

      That doesn't stop me from liking you however. <3

      Oh, and I'm an ex-smoker some years out. Can't believe I ever smoked now.

      •  I still like you too :) (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mark27, notrouble

        The way you feel about smoking is how I feel about drinking. I haven't had a drink in over 20 years, can't believe I ever did.

        Alcohol killed my entire paternal family, dad, both grandparents, only aunt and contributed to the death of my half brother.

        I have a reason to hate it, but I don't and I don't want to see people who enjoy a drink punished with onerous taxes.

        Another problem I have is that the states took in their shares of the lawsuits and were supposed to spend it on smoking cessation and other smoking related spending. Not so much.

        They did do a few commercials but most of the money went into the general budget. Then, when the tobacco companies no longer had for fork over the money they started taxing smokers to make up the hole in their budget.

        I don't want to have to pay for a stadium or like here in Utah so that the NSA gets a free ride on their massive new facility. I'm tired of being the one, why not a tax on high end restaurants or something?

        What are states going to turn to when they have pushed enough smokers into quitting or smuggling (oh yeah, it does go on). Who will be the next goat?

        And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

        by high uintas on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 03:58:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There's a Reason..... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chicagobleu, high uintas

          .....why governments are warming up to marijuana legalization after decades of resistance.  Whatever the arguments for legalization may be among the NORML advocates, politicians see legalized marijuana as their post-tobacco method of separating 18-year-old knuckleheads from $5,000 a year of their money to redistribute to crony capitalists for corporate welfare and the construction of pro sports stadiums, all while holding harmless the upper middle class guy who "doesn't know anybody who smokes anymore" from paying his share of the freight.

      •  I've been reading this exchange with interest (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        high uintas

        For 20 years I "chewed" tobacco, while for the last 5 years I've been clean from it. Right now I'm enjoying a local microbrew, and I support reasonable "sin taxes" on the alcohol therein. I feel there is no perfect answer, some "sin taxes" are needed and we are trying to shape behavior. Still, this is supposed to be the "land of the free."

        To be first in the soil, which erupts in the coil, of trees veins and grasses all brought to a boil. -- The Maxx

        by notrouble on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 04:56:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Oh dear doG, not this again (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akeitz, notrouble, Matt Z, roberb7

    Smoking kills. And it doesn't kill quickly, except for the lucky few who blast out of here with a massive heart attack.

    It kills slowly and brutally and painfully. Smoking is directly implicated in a number of cancers, including mouth and throat cancers, and cancers such as the one that took Roger Ebert's jaw, in renal failure, in gruesome COPD deaths, in amputations, just for starters.

    So, not only does it contribute to poor health and even poorer quality of life, ultimately we the people of the United States bear the costs in higher insurance premiums and in more difficult access to physicians and PA's because they see so, so many people dealing with the consequences of addiction to tobacco.

    What is your real deal about this? You've been carrying on about it for some years now at Daily Kos, and your inability or unwillingness to accept the simple facts about tobacco are extremely troubling.

    •  Denial is a powerful thing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      roberb7

      My auntie has been a chain smoker since the 1950s. The health of her children, now her own poor health, nothing has gotten through to her to quit.

      So that's why we need to continue the battle to prevent the creation of new nicotine addicts.

      •  Denial? (0+ / 0-)

        I don't deny the human toll of tobacco.  But I don't  think it's any of your business what a person chooses to put in their body knowing the consequence and I definitely don't think you should be able to pass off your tax burden to artificially inflate "the other guy's" simply because you are intolerant towards his lifestyle.

        Replace the word "smokers" in your bile-filled rants with "homosexuals" and it would be impossible to differentiate what you're writing with a Jerry Falwell op-ed piece from the 1980s.

        •  It becomes my business because it makes me ill (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          roberb7

          Sorry but you are in denial you obviously cannot admit to yourself the effects your habit has on others.

          Gay people don't make me throw up, hack and wease.  As a matter of fact Jerry Falwell living deep in tobacco country was quite the apologist for big tobacco. He'd heartily approve of your diary.

          •  Seriously? We Live In a Stinky World! (0+ / 0-)

            You sound like the kid crying to dad from the backseat that "Billy farted".  Show me any past precedent where the government based public policy on demanding that stinky people improve their personal smell and you'll have some semblance of a basis for why it's the role of government to clear a path of fresh air to accommodate your every footstep.

            •  hehehe we did that in the 19th century (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              roberb7

              The public health movements of the19th century got rid of a lot of public stink due by teaching folks better hygiene, pushing for indoor plumbing etc.

              I think you must have a horrid sense of smell if you can't smell the issue.  It's not about stinky people it's about stinky things that people do and stinky things corporations try to convince us we need.  They really, really do make some folks ill and you're quite callous to ignore that facet of the issue. It's not Marie Antoinette to have an asthma attack triggered by cigarettes or perfume as a co-worker of mine had when we had air freshener wars in the office a few years ago.

            •  You're the same person who wrote this: (0+ / 0-)
              I don't deny the human toll of tobacco.
              So, you don't deny the human toll of tobacco, except when you do.

              Your lack of respect for the rights of others is the reason why smoking in public places has been banned all over the planet. Let's see you take some responsibility for this development.

              •  My Acknowledgment Of The Human Toll of Tobacco.... (0+ / 0-)

                .....has nothing to do with akeitz's assertion that she doesn't like the smell of other people's smoke in those increasingly rare moments she's forced to walk past a smoker on the sidewalk.  Being in the presence of foul odors emitted by others is the price of living in a society and pretending that the minimal contact any adult nonsmoker has to live with in today's age constitutes hardship is just another example of the immature prima donna culture a bunch of jerks distract us with while ignoring real-world problems.

                And by the way, I'm a lifelong nonsmoker, so my "responsibility" is accounted for here.  Now it's your turn to show the "responsibility" of tolerance for those you deem your moral inferiors because they have a less politically correct indulgence than you do.

    •  My "Deal" About This..... (0+ / 0-)

      .....is that the progressive movement is making hypocrites and assholes of themselves by making the persecution of smokers their top policy priority.  And I will continue to raise this topic because it's no longer simply about a bunch of false flag "progressives" getting their rocks off by bullying the easy target they perceive smokers to be, it's imposing serious financial hardship on many vulnerable people based on this one cherry-picked lifestyle choice that a bunch of jerks have decided is too unacceptable to live with...and it just happens to be "the other guy's" lifestyle choice for which they are loudly demanding intolerance and financial hardship over.

  •  Who Smokes in the United States. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark27

    http://money.cnn.com/...

    I think you are correct about the demographics.

  •  I can only assume that you are a smoker (0+ / 0-)

    in deep denial over the health and social costs of your filthy, disgusting, stinking habit. This is not a "working class" issue - it is about a bunch of primitive dimwitted no-neck bubbas who think the right to blow polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons at others is written in the Constitution. I am 100% for taxing these idiots on the chance that they might have a few functional neurons to repent of their idiocy.

    •  First Of All, You're Assumption Is Wrong.... (0+ / 0-)

      I'm not a smoker.

      Secondly, you're scum.....the exact sort of intolerant, judgmental asshole who undermines everything progressivism is supposed to be about.

      Roast in hell.

      •  If you are a "progressive," I don't want to (0+ / 0-)

        be one. SUUUURE you're not a smoker - I REALLY believe that. Stay in your own house, smoke your $15 a pack coffin nails and die young.

        •  I Know This May Blow The Mind..... (0+ / 0-)

          .....of a selfish pig like you, but some of us actually have an interest in public policy that doesn't directly impact ourselves.  

          Curious what a guy like you holds those you deem as your perceived moral inferiors with such contempt over something as petty as cigarette smoking is doing on a site like Daily Kos.  What issues make you a Democrat if you are this passionate about imposing savage hardship on the poorest and most vulnerable demographics of Americans?

          •  Oh, please, don't cry about the "savage hardship" (0+ / 0-)

            inflicted on low-income smokers. It is a hardship that can be eliminated with a few simple decisions and a little Nicorette.

            Cigarettes are not food or lodging, and quitting smoking is not a superhuman feat, it is something that is done every day by ordinary people at every income level. Perhaps the low-income smoker is more fortunate than the Hollywood actor - significant increases in cigarette tax are more likely to give him or her the impetus to quit smoking than the Hollywood idiot.

            •  Your Entire Argument Is Based on the Premise..... (0+ / 0-)

              .....of a peasantry that either lives a vice-free, Big Brother-approved life or else gets financially persecuted by their government.  Some of us don't believe that's a realistic or desirable way to run a free society.  And the extent to which modern progressives are only interested in the gospel of income inequality reduction that they preach if the peasants pass the lifestyle purity test puts into serious doubt their sincerity.  Converting the skeptical to your side ain't gonna happen with such comically transparent contradictions.

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