Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pennsylvania Cigarette Tax

Killing "Pennsylvanians" One Pack at a Time; by Craig Friebolin

I started smoking when I was 20 years old (the summer of 1991) and my first attempt to quit smoking was on my 30th birthday. I am 38 now with a pack-and-a-half-a-day habit. I consider myself rational and well disciplined but when it comes to smoking all of that goes out the window. (Do you think that’s because they are addictive?) I know the dangers of smoking and I know that nobody is putting a gun to my head and making me smoke. (But they’re addictive … did I mention they’re addictive?)

Obviously the state of Pennsylvania knows that cigarette smoke carries with it many serious health risks and that is why I can’t smoke in any public places anymore. They did this to protect “all of us” from the dangers of cigarette smoke. Admittedly I tend to just go outside and smoke every-so-often because I can only go so long without a cigarette because they’re addictive. (Did I mention the addictive thing?) Another thing they do every so often is tax the ever-loving-crap out of a pack of cigarettes to punish me for smoking … or at least that’s the logic I thought I heard somewhere. It was this thinking that infuriated me recently when the cigarette tax was raised again. I thought; “if the state is so concerned with my safety and getting me un-addicted to cigarettes why don’t they sponsor a program that sells nicotine patches at convenience stores for a tenth of the price of a pack of cigarettes rather than make me work harder to support a habit I don’t even want!?” A little while later I thought I would look into this idea and see if I could suggest it to someone but that is when I found out that the cigarette taxes are used to raise money for anti-smoking campaigns … oh ... wait … that’s not right. They use the money for legal aid to help those battling the tobacco industry … oh … wait ... that’s not right either. Apparently they just do it for the money. Then they give the money that only the smokers have to pay to non-smoking related projects.

From: http://www.revenue.state.pa.us/revenue/cwp/view.asp?a=13&q=270812

“Cigarette tax revenue helps fund the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, which provides quality health insurance for children of working families, the Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Fund for farmland preservation and the Health Care Provider Retention Account that helps reduce medical malpractice insurance costs.”

ARE YOU F*&%ING KIDDING ME!? Put a tax on Toys for CHIP, put a tax on Topsoil for farmers, and regulate the insurance industry! Don’t charge me extra for an addictive product that is killing me and then hang me out to dry!!!! WHAT THE F%$# IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE!?

Part 2 :
So today I decided to make sure my information was correct and pulled up the current state budget and I found the only smoking related project is the 1-800-QUIT-NOW line that is run by the American Cancer Society. I gave them a call and after being asked for my name, address, age, race, sexual orientation, and a ton of other off topic questions they offered to send me some brochures (I suppose I’m supposed to smoke them?), receive a call from a ‘counselor’ on Monday June 15th (2 weeks from now and I’ll let you know how it goes) and they also let me know about the www.determinedtoquit.com website which is pretty much cut-and-paste from the American Cancer Society website (www.cancer.org). They also let me know that there is no “Nicotine Replacement Program” so don’t call them if you have the realistic expectation that they’ll send you some nicotine patches or anything like that. So now I had proof that hardly any of the extra $1.35 PER PACK TAX (Approximately $1,680,517.00 PER DAY TAXED IN PA) We are spending is going to help or prevent anything smoking related. (Apparently COMMON SENSE is void at State level)
So I decide to call the Governor and show him the error of his ways (Governor Edward G. Rendell's Office: (717) 787-2500) …

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