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I was listening to your news the other day about tobacco & the new tax.  I don’t understand how an alleged news organization can consistently produce such half truths and still walk around with a straight face.  What gets me is I doubt the tobacco companies are even paying you any money now (i.e. advertisements) and yet you still protect them (tobacco companies) like they were your grandmother or something.

First of all, do you know what a drug addict is?   Apparently not; but I’ll leave it to you to look up that definition.   Calling people that ingest nicotine “Smokers” has to be one of the greatest all advertising coo of all time.   Think about it.  These people are drug addicts shooting up, well OK,  smoking up in your face, exhaling potentially carcinogenic fumes for all to enjoy, stinking up any room they might be in; even if they are not puffing, and tossing cigarette butts around for us all to enjoy.  All this and the tobacco companies managed to get people to call it a “habit” and later a “dirty habit” but not what it is.  Why isn’t subjecting someone to poison gas illegal?  Oh, that’s right, it is, unless of course it is cigarette smoke.  Smoking in your car with your child trapped inside with you?  Why that is not ‘child endangerment’ it is the “right to smoke,” and nobody is telling me (them) what they can and can not do.  Cigarette Butts?  Like the almost piles by the bus station?  Why that is not litter, but city beautification. [sic]

Nicotine addicts (smokers) claim they are being singled out for taxes.  Lets look at that for a moment.  In 1960 the 8¢ tax on a pack of cigarettes accounted for almost 33% of the cost.  That would be 95¢ today if indexed with the rate of inflation.  If the federal cigarette excise tax had kept pace with the Consumer Price Index for tobacco products, it (the tax) would be $1.51 today per pack.

The world bank has documented the US cigarette tax and being very low among high-income countries such as France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain end even lower than many developing countries like Argentina, Brazil and Chile.  Tax in the European Union runs from 2 to almost 10 dollars a pack.

Each pack of cigarettes which is sold costs the U.S. economy over $10.25 – Most of which is paid by non-smokers in the form of not only higher taxes (to cover Medicaid, Medicare, Veterans benefits, Indian benefits, MCH, and more) but also has inflated rates for medical insurance.  Smoking costs Medicaid over 30 billion a year compared with less than $7.5 billion in annual tax revenue.  Raising tax to only a $1 a pack would save an estimated 900,000 lives annually, bring in 10 billion more of revenue and decrease smoking by children by almost 10%. 

All “News 12" (What a %^&* misnomer) has to say is “poor addict”, oops; no, they (you) don’t even say that, it is “poor smoker.”  I’ve never heard you say “poor cocain user” or “poor hereon addict” but poor smoker, yes.   Let me ask you one thing, does the person who controls the content of your “news” also take drugs (smoke)?

from  Michael Nelson, chnl 12


Thanks so much for your note. I have copied the script of the story below. I don’t see any reference to your concerns, nor do I see the story portraying smokers as victims.

I think you make good points, that smoking is an addiction, much like other drugs, and it’s expensive for taxpayers, as is obesity and alcoholism; other “legal” health hazards.

It is not really the role of journalism to condone legal behavior—no matter how disgusting some may find it.

I appreciate your comments, and thanks for watching Newswatch 12!