Are High Taxes on Cigarettes Proper?
Previously published on March 3, 2008
Unfortunately, tobacco use is well ingrained into the American culture as the unhealthy habit set off a tobacco craze in the days when our Nation was just a collection of British Colonies. As such, the toxic nature of cigarettes, which should force legislators to rid the Country of such a dangerous pastime, seems to have little effect.
Many smokers firmly believe they have a Constitutional right to engage in an activity that generates a greater public health hazard than many of the regulated poison that are no longer lawful to use in the United States. Therefore, imposing high taxes on cigarettes is a means for the Government to demonstrate its opposition to tobacco use.
Smoking results in a number of health issues including an increased risk for several cardiovascular diseases while it is the primary cause of lung cancer. The nicotine found in tobacco can cause certain birth defects while it over stresses the smokers' heart at the same time the burning ash forces carbon monoxide into the lungs and bloodstream resulting in a decreased supply of oxygen.
Furthermore, second hand smoke guarantees that significant exposure to another person's habit can lead to as many negative health effects as if a person had smoked. As there are absolutely no redeeming factors to using tobacco, smokers unnecessarily poison themselves and those surrounding them. Tobacco use cuts years off a person's life while it slowly kills them with the need for expensive medial treatment.
As smoking is nothing more than a public health hazard, the state has a clear interest in banning the practice; however, because such laws would almost be impossible to enforce, such action is unlikely. High cigarette taxes are a means to discourage the use of tobacco, although those addicted seldom make the decision not to buy their smokes based on cost, even when the choice is between eating and smoking.
Meanwhile, the health costs of smokers are exuberant, but whether or not a high cigarette tax equals that cost, there is a greater social cost that money cannot pay for. The loss of individuals and the existence of unhealthy people hurt society as these people not only fail to contribute to society, but families are deprived of their loved ones.
Finally, a smoking culture encourages a new generation of smokers to arise while it over burdens an already overstressed health care system. Moreover, there is a cost to tobacco use that goes far beyond high cigarette taxes, so smokers should probably pay higher cigarette taxes.