Author: William Baumgarth
With Bill de Blasio announcing that he wishes to raise cigarette prices from $10.50 to $13, cigarettes in NYC are about to get even more expensive. This should be no surprise with liberal politicians such as Bernie Sanders suggesting that cigarettes should be outright banned. These politicians claim that they are tying to save you from the evil forces of “big tobacco.” But do you really need politicians and more government to save you from yourself?
What is the problem with a consenting adult purchasing an item he/she gets enjoyment out of? What liberal politicians will tell you is that tobacco is a substance that comes with many health consequences, and that as a result tobacco needs to be taxed and banned. I will concede that tobacco is unhealthy, however I will not concede that tobacco needs to be taxed or banned.
Cigarette smokers are addicted, they know they are. However, addicted does not equate to being dumb. Smokers know that the addiction comes with its fair share of consequences. When the price of cigarettes gets raised, smokers become neither less addicted or more educated. Therefore when the price of cigarettes is raised absurdly all you’re doing is taking the product out of the hands of people who can no longer afford it. These people who are not able to afford the product any longer are in the lower income bracket. Therefore as a result, you took the pleasure of cigarette smoking away from the poor and reserved the right exclusively for the wealthy. Since Mayor Bill is such an advocate for wealth equality, it is quite surprising that he would wish to take a product away from the poor, or even worse, make poor people pay a higher percentage of their income for cigarettes that could have been used to purchase groceries or clothing.
Absurd taxation would be a tad bit more decent if there was a stopping point. However liberal politicians use the same argument against soda, and sugar. We see soda taxes in places like Philadelphia. Once again, taking a product out of the hands of the poor and into the hands of the people who don’t care and can afford the product.
But do I think that people who can’t afford the $13 prices in NYC are going to quit cigarettes? Absolutely not. There are going to be plenty of black market solutions available, such as loose cigarettes, the same loose cigarettes Eric Garner was selling when he was killed. Other solutions will be out of state, and foreign cigarettes. Taxation is only as effective as it is reasonable, and this price increase may decrease the cigarette sales in NY while not actually reducing the amount of cigarettes or cigarette smokers.
As for banning the cigarette period, Bernie Sanders, who is one of the biggest advocates for marijuana legalization, should know better. All this will create is a black market which will involve more crime, and higher prices. Not to mention cigarettes will become increasingly trendy because they would be “one of those cool banned substances.”
To sum everything up, the war on cigarettes will not only be ineffective, but morally wrong. People have the right to make their own decisions, and they certainly don’t need the government to make the decision of what they can/can’t put into their own bodies. It’s time to send a message that this excessive taxation will not be tolerated.