“Its easier to stay out than get out.” Simple and to the point, Mark Twain conveys the struggle and conflict that hastily arises with smoking cigarettes. Cigarettes have been heavily demanded in American Society since the middle 20th century primarily because of its ability to temporarily relieve stress and relax the human body and mind. Also nicotine, the chief psychoactive chemical in tobacco and found in cigarettes, is highly addictive. Cigarettes have been linked to various diseases, health problems, and death. As a result, the government has steadily increased taxes on cigarettes in order to reduce the demand for cigarettes and to raise tax revenue. Today I will discuss the positives and negatives of cigarettes taxes, the effects that come with them, who is effected, the use of money earned from taxes and whether that complies with the desired effect of reducing demand.
State governments view hikes in cigarette taxes as a “win –win” situation. States often find themselves in severe fiscal crises and the taxes help them to balance the budget while at the same time provides an essential public service that decreases the demand for such an unhealthy product. The tax is found to be very effective in preventing cigarette use, particularly in our nation’s youth. Every ten percent increase in cigarette prices reduces youth smoking by about seven percent and total cigarette consumption by about four percent. Since the tobacco is so addictive the best strategic plan is to prevent cigarette use all together.
The majority of Americans support the hike in cigarette taxes. National and State polls have time and time consistently shown Americans supporting tobacco tax increases. Many Americans would rather have taxes increase on tobacco products than raise taxes on other things or cut educational and public safety programs that benefit almost all Americans. An important statistic to consider is that only smokers purchasing cigarettes are affected by this tax. Citizens that decide to smoke make up about 20% of America, so it is easy to understand why the other 80% is content with tax hikes on something they do not use in their daily lives. Smokers who are forced to pay this tax have different opinions. There are some people that desperately want to quit but find themselves unable. They consider this tax a helping a hand in resisting such a powerful addiction.
On the other side of the spectrum there are the people that enjoy their daily pack of cigarettes. They work hard and they reward themselves by smoking a pack. A majority of smokers are poor to lower middle class and being able to reward themselves at the end of the day or doing a work break is important to these individuals. Others who have an interminable amount of stress and anxiety are dependent on cigarettes to help ease their mind are infuriated by this tax. Many long term smokers reminisce on times where cigarette prices were more than affordable and now are having trouble paying for them....