Thoughts from the Publisher : Cigarette Tax

Neena Strichartby Neena Strichart,

I have made it quite clear that I am a nicotine addict. Oh, I haven’t had a cigarette in well over a year—nevertheless, I am still addicted to those filter-tipped devil sticks.
Given the above, I have very strong opinions regarding the newly proposed cigarette tax.
It is my understanding that our government intends to add up to two dollars tax on each pack of cigarettes. Now, upon first examination one might think “good, tax those polluters with the nasty habit,” but maybe I can give a reason to question such a tax.
I think it is unconscionable to tax people so heavily on a legalized drug they cannot kick. For those of us with the health insurance or dollars to spend on prescription or over-the-counter quit aids—fine. We at least have a fighting chance. I used not only a long series of different versions and strengths of “the patch” but also the help of a good 12-step program to help me kick the habit. Not everyone is so lucky. Not every cigarette addict has the support or the necessary medical help to assist him or her to “kick the nic.” It seems to me that this tax is targeted toward the poor and addicted. The thought of the whole thing makes me mad. It just isn’t fair.
If you’re going to tax “us” at least give us the tools to help us quit—for free!
Kicking cigarettes was a horrible ordeal for me. Heck, I’ve “quit” six or seven times over the last 35 years. Thank goodness it stuck this time. I found the right motivation—periodontal disease—and the threat of losing all my teeth. Vanity, in this case, was a blessing. I had a good support group to help me through it emotionally and physically. Yes, I said physically. I went through horrible withdrawal pains—my body ached all over for months. Some of the other side-effects are too personal to put into print—but if you call me, I’ll be happy to tell you all about it. The scary part is I only smoked about two packs of cigarettes a week—yes a week, NOT a day. Nevertheless I was (and still am) an addict and my withdrawal experiences were horrible. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for a heavier smoker to quit. No wonder so many people can’t stay quit. I still have cravings and swear I’ll buy a carton the day they tell me I’m terminal.
So, there it is— my opinion, for what it’s worth.

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