Smokefree PA urges General Assembly to hike cigarette tax, but to NOT tax vapor or smokeless

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Lessifer

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    The PA budget battle has been going on for 18 months, and they've already rejected the vast majority of Gov. Wolf's proposed tax hikes. tobacco and vapor products are about the only things still on the table.

    Its easy to say that legislators should tax something else, but that's not realistic. I invite everyone to tell PA legislators what other things they should tax.
    I'm not anti-tax, I'm anti population specific taxes. If it's something that effects everyone, tax everyone to cover it.

    My county just passed a measure to tax "other stuff" dispensaries(medicinal) supposedly in order to fund after school youth programs. I voted against it. I don't use that stuff, and I'm for youth programs, but not at the expense of a select population that is completely unrelated.

    Unless you're trying to say that the money collected from cigarette taxes will ONLY be going to fund the health care of smokers?
     

    Rickajho

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      I'm not anti-tax, I'm anti population specific taxes. If it's something that effects everyone, tax everyone to cover it.

      And that's the problem with ever increasing cigarette taxes - it's a regressive tax that impacts those who can afford to pay it the least the very most.

      Unless you're trying to say that the money collected from cigarette taxes will ONLY be going to fund the health care of smokers?

      And.... that won't happen. At least not in MA - where they espouse that cigarette tax increases will fund smoking cessation programs and that dumbass 800 quit line. But the cigarette tax hikes just go into the general fund. And they actually closed those allegedly helpful quit smoking support groups. Where is the ACS outrage about that one? So if anyone thinks cigarette taxes would actually pay for health care costs associated with smoking... I have a looking glass you should hop into and see what you find.

      You cigarette tax dollars - not used for intended purpose.
       

      Rossum

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        You cigarette tax dollars - not used for intended purpose.
        In some cases the politicians are quite open about it. Back in 2014, Philly slapped a $2.00 a pack tax on cigarettes expressly to increase school funding. It's always easier for the politicians to extract more revenue from a group that's small enough not to vote them out than it is to impose broad-based tax increases that upset almost everyone.
         

        Rickajho

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          In some cases the politicians are quite open about it. Back in 2014, Philly slapped a $2.00 a pack tax on cigarettes expressly to increase school funding. It's always easier for the politicians to extract more revenue from a group that's small enough not to vote them out than it is to impose broad-based tax increases that upset almost everyone.

          You did happen to notice that - what are those things called? Oh yeah - "children" were involved in that one.

          This entire cigarette/nicotine/tobacco matter is reframing the very notion of "child abuse" when it comes to politics and policy.
           

          mcol

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            We have the lowest ciggy tax in the nation here and apparently
            it leaves politicians just drooling. Two measures go on the ballot
            this fall to raise the cig tax and even though I'm a non smoker, and
            even though it doesn't include e-cigs, I am voting both of them down.
            Enough is enough. It's time for govt to cut spending or learn to live
            within their means.
             

            Verb

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              The PA budget battle has been going on for 18 months, and they've already rejected the vast majority of Gov. Wolf's proposed tax hikes. tobacco and vapor products are about the only things still on the table.

              Its easy to say that legislators should tax something else, but that's not realistic. I invite everyone to tell PA legislators what other things they should tax.

              The three non-exploitive things that can be taxed are wealth created, wealth transferred, and wealth held. I've communicated this to my PA legislators many times.
               

              rothenbj

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                The three non-exploitive things that can be taxed are wealth created, wealth transferred, and wealth held. I've communicated this to my PA legislators many times.
                Sounds like the approach from someone that spends all their money. When wealth is created, it is taxed (at least for those that don't play the tax loophole game). It is taxed when it's transferred via inheritance taxes and why would you tax it when it's held? With pensions becoming a thing of the past and SS on the brink of becoming insolvent, you better plan on holding a good deal of wealth for your later years, unless you plan to work forever. Elder care, you you live to need it costs $5k to $12k a month depending on the level of service.
                 

                Verb

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                  Sounds like the approach from someone that spends all their money. When wealth is created, it is taxed (at least for those that don't play the tax loophole game). It is taxed when it's transferred via inheritance taxes and why would you tax it when it's held? With pensions becoming a thing of the past and SS on the brink of becoming insolvent, you better plan on holding a good deal of wealth for your later years, unless you plan to work forever. Elder care, you you live to need it costs $5k to $12k a month depending on the level of service.


                  I don't think all three need to be used. They are just the things I could think of that don't single anyone out or attempt to change social behavior. Held wealth taxes if used need to be very small rates. Property tax is a held wealth tax.
                   
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                  Bill Godshall

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                    Unless you're trying to say that the money collected from cigarette taxes will ONLY be going to fund the health care of smokers?

                    Per my letter to PA legislators and per the Medicaid study, PA Medicaid expenditures for treating cigarette diseases was $2.24 billion in 2012 (and are higher now) while smokers paid $1.45 billion in cigarette tax revenue to the state government.
                     

                    Bill Godshall

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                      So if anyone thinks cigarette taxes would actually pay for health care costs associated with smoking... I have a looking glass you should hop into and see what you find.

                      See my response above.

                      Nonsmoking taxpayers have been unfairly forced to subsidize enormous healthcare costs caused by cigarette smoking. Increasing the tax on cigarettes simply holds smokers more financially accountable.

                      But since cigarette diseases now cost federal and state governments $11/pack in healthcare costs, nonsmokers will always be forced to subsidize a majority of costs (unless the cigarette tax is increased by $3/pack nationwide, which isn't going to happen).
                       

                      Lessifer

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                        See my response above.

                        Nonsmoking taxpayers have been unfairly forced to subsidize enormous healthcare costs caused by cigarette smoking. Increasing the tax on cigarettes simply holds smokers more financially accountable.

                        But since cigarette diseases now cost federal and state governments $11/pack in healthcare costs, nonsmokers will always be forced to subsidize a majority of costs (unless the cigarette tax is increased by $3/pack nationwide, which isn't going to happen).
                        Like non-diabetic taxpayers are forced to subsidize insulin and other diabetic supply costs? Non obese taxpayers funding heart disease?

                        The costs of cigarette smoking are always presented as a one sided equation, and we know that really isn't the case.

                        If you want a "socialized" healthcare option, like medicaid, you share the expenses between the sick and the healthy, that's how it works.

                        How much were the non-smoking medicaid recipients forced to pay in excise taxes to support their share of medicaid expenses? Did PA not receive any federal funding for medicaid, or is the federal funding only for non-smokers?
                         

                        DC2

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                          Nonsmoking taxpayers have been unfairly forced to subsidize enormous healthcare costs caused by cigarette smoking. Increasing the tax on cigarettes simply holds smokers more financially accountable.
                          So you seem to understand that much of the anti-smoking propaganda is bogus lies.
                          But you are convinced that the medical costs historically assigned to smoking are accurate?
                           

                          Lessifer

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                            There are plenty of personal choices(like alcohol consumption) that lead to excessive medicaid costs. It's pretty obvious that we don't see a push for excessive excise taxes for those other choices, because those affected add up to a much larger voting block, and haven't been successfully dehumanized through decades of propaganda.
                             

                            retired1

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                              Nonsmoking taxpayers have been unfairly forced to subsidize enormous healthcare costs caused by cigarette smoking. Increasing the tax on cigarettes simply holds smokers more financially accountable.

                              It's funny how these huge numbers get thrown around, but never are they put side by side with the other health costs for healthy people.

                              Alcohol, Obesity and Smoking Do Not Cost Health Care Systems Money

                              The actual numbers for lifetime from 20 years old medical costs were:

                              The lifetime costs were in Euros:

                              Healthy: 281,000

                              Obese: 250,000

                              Smokers: 220,000

                              There are excellent arguments in favour of taxing in order to reduce the occurrence of smoking, excessive boozing and obesity. We humans are subject to hyperbolic discounting, not taking full account of long distant future costs for current pleasures, sometimes those running the public health system really do know more than us, there are externalities associated with these behaviours (late night drunks, passive smoking and the visual pollution of someone 300 lbs overweight perhaps). But the argument we cannot use is that these behaviours increase the costs of health care.

                              The reason we cannot use this argument is that it simply isn’t true. Those who die young save health care systems money, not cost. Thus, if we really are to accept the argument about taxes and the costs of health care then we should be subsidising puffing, browsing and sluicing.

                              As usual, it's not really about the costs, but a deep rooted need for some to dictate to others how they should live their lives. If governments were really that serious about saving health care dollars, they'd be subsidizing booze and tobacco to reduce health costs as the average life span would be much lower, therefore reducing health costs overall.

                              So...... Rather than drawing the long bow across that tired lie, let's call it for what it really is. It has nothing to do with health costs. It has everything to do with putting money where it's been going from day one. Into the pockets of those that stand to gain from perpetuating the lie.
                               
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                              retired1

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                                Let's look at it in a different light now.

                                Per my letter to PA legislators and per the Medicaid study, PA Medicaid expenditures for treating cigarette diseases was $2.24 billion in 2012 (and are higher now) while smokers paid $1.45 billion in cigarette tax revenue to the state government.

                                OK. So what percentage of ALL medical costs was that 2.24 billion?

                                Let's try this on for size.

                                Annual U.S. Healthcare Spending Hits $3.8 Trillion

                                It's estimated that the TOTAL health care costs in the US was 3 TRILLION dollars for 2012. For 2012, the CDC estimates a paltry 170 Billion in direct health care costs related to smoking. A little basic math shows that smokers are responsible for just 0.05 percent of those total health costs.

                                So. Assuming the CDC figures are correct (as if we truly believe everything that comes out of there now, right?), there's another 2.8 Trillion dollars being spent that is not related to smoking. Something smells and it's not my dog.

                                This whole tax issue reminds me of the Harborview study that was released back in the late 90s regarding motorcyclists and the "burden of health costs".
                                The study attempted to imply that motorcyclists were a burden on the health care system, when in fact, only 0.53 percent of all accidents and costs were attributed to motorcycle riders.

                                Same thing is happening now with smokers. Everyone is trying to imply they're a huge burden on the health care system, when in fact, they are not.
                                 
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                                retired1

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                                  The more I think about this, the madder I get. The campaign to vilify smokers has been so thorough, nobody stops to ask what the real truth is. We'll just toss out a big number that horrifies everyone, and they'll all jump on the "tax the snot out of them" bandwagon. Doesn't matter that the REAL numbers are even more horrific for other diseases and health issues. Noooooooooo! Let's vilify smokers because they're a small minority compared to the boozers and couch potatoes and we can fleece the hell out of them with none being the wiser.

                                  The use of those figures in such a shameful and dishonest manner is disgusting. What's even more disgusting are those who cheerfully agree with the concept (including our politicians) all in the name of the grand cash grab scheme.
                                   

                                  Rickajho

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                                    See my response above.

                                    Nonsmoking taxpayers have been unfairly forced to subsidize enormous healthcare costs caused by cigarette smoking. Increasing the tax on cigarettes simply holds smokers more financially accountable.

                                    But since cigarette diseases now cost federal and state governments $11/pack in healthcare costs, nonsmokers will always be forced to subsidize a majority of costs (unless the cigarette tax is increased by $3/pack nationwide, which isn't going to happen).

                                    Sorry, but it's a specious argument.

                                    I don't have any children. Yet I'm forced to subsidize the medical costs of a six year old being treated for leukemia, lymphoma or an entire range of highly expensive treatments. Not only is that a terribly sad thing, am I supposed to be somehow outraged that those kids are getting care at my expense? Only breeders should subsidize child health care costs then. I should have a right to my own anti "...for the children!!!" campaign over this.

                                    You can't micro-manage the actuarial tables. Well you can - and no one except the insurance industry "wins" in the process. Do you want a humane society or a healthy insurance industry - pick one.
                                     
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                                    retired1

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                                      I did a little more digging. It's funny that states don't provide these figures readily. I had to do some creative digging in order to come up with these figures.

                                      In 2009 (couldn't find more recent totals for per capita health care by state), Pennsylvania was spending $7,730 per capita in health care costs. At that time, there were approximately 12.67 million people in Pennsylvania.

                                      So, we now have an approximate grand total of $97,939,100,000 in total health care expenditures for Pennsylvania in 2009. I'll be nice. We'll take Bill's 2012 2.24 billion dollar figure and apply it to the 2009 totals.

                                      0.02 percent of direct health care costs attributable to smoking.

                                      Please tell me again how smokers are dragging down the state economies and the legislative bodies must increase taxes on those individuals to make things "fair". Seems to me that y'all got some "splainin' to do Lucy".
                                       
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