Last week I wrote a letter to the editor. It is regarding the proposed cigarette sales tax increase that has been iniated by Governor Doyle. Here is the letter:

Raising the cigarette tax is beneficial in so many ways. For one, eventually the price WILL get hefty enough to encourage people to quit. They will have no choice. The more people in our society who smoke, the more the financial burden there is on EVERYONE. It costs companies more to insure their employees. It raises insurance costs to those who have never even lit up. And the medical complications that arise from smoking also raise healthcare costs to unbelievable proportions.


Information gathered from USA Today: according to a study in 2004 by health economists, the combined price paid by a smoker’s family and society is about $41 per pack of cigarettes. This estimation is based on the costs for a 24-year-old smoker over 60 years for cigarettes, taxes, insurance, medical care and lost earnings because of smoking-related disabilities. So, smokers are already paying at least $41 bucks a pack – what’s an extra buck or two? Everyone knows the damage caused by cigarettes. It is no secret. Why should we all ‘pay’ in so many ways?


This country is broke. And instead of taking away what is needed to make America a better place, instead of taxing the necessities in our lives – I say tax the heck out of what is destroying people to begin with. Smoking, alcohol, fast food…we know these are harmful and certainly not necessities so why not hike the taxes up on these and leave the gas tax (for example) alone? I am not saying they should be outlawed. I am not saying they should be banned. I am saying that if you want to do these things, then pay for it. Why should we all pay for their consequences equally? A cheeseburger here or there isn’t going to kill you. But the extra occasional tax won’t either. If you want to expose yourself to hundreds of different ailments from smoking – more power to you…but YOU pay for it.


I smoked for a long time. I had my moments with Jack and Coke too. And you bet I have eaten more Whoppers than necessary. But I have also seen the devastation these can cause, especially cigarettes. I support the tax – for so many reasons.

So far the letter has been printed in the Racine Journal Times:

It was also published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, but it was edited to shreds which does not make me happy:

And it waw published in the Wisconsin State Journal on February 1st





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