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Cigarette Tax Increase

POSTED: Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 11:16pm

UPDATED: Thursday, April 8, 2010 - 1:43am

President Obama signed a bill Wednesday extending health coverage to four million uninsured children. And smokers' wallets are going to cover the hefty cost.

President Obama says this bill is the first step in his efforts to provide insurance for all Americans. But Sunday we spoke to several East Texans who don't agree.

Saundra Kinn is the owner of Saundra's Huff N Puff and Stuff in Lindale and she said she's not too concerned about the new federal tax on tobacco scaring away her customers. "We're all still going to smoke," Kinn said.

But that doesn't mean Kinn likes what's going on. "Let the taxes be on alcohol," she said. "People are driving to buy their alcohol and drinking on the way back. They're getting in wrecks and killing people."

The Federal State Children's Health Insurance Program Expansion Bill, or S-chip, is supposed to boost the number of children covered by federal health insurance to 11 million over the next four years. That program will be fueled by the extra $32 billion kicked in by smokers and users of tobacco.

Beginning in April, the price for a pack of cigarettes will go up anywhere from 62 cents to $1.00. Roll-your-own tobacco will cost you around $40 per pound and almost all premium cigars will go up about 40 cents each.

Some East Texans we spoke with say they think it's ironic to fund a children's health care program with tobacco tax. "It sends a mixed message," Brian Werner of Lindale said. "We talk about how we don't want them to smoke, but then we're going to pay for health care through smoking."

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My personal opinion is that why don't we go ahead and legalize drugs and take the money out of the back pockets of these politicians who are "closet dealers" and keep it illegal. I knew that the whole social and economic structure of the U.S. would start going to hell when Obama was elected. I have been a Democrat for as long as I can remember, but I could feel the money in his pockets just burning a hole trying to find someplace to be spent. But this tobacco issue has become the straw that broke the camels back and it has got to be stopped! I could handle a proportionate increase in tax, but the roll your own people seem to taking it in the rear end. Maybe it's time for a little Boston Tea Party action!

This is a good idea.

americans who choose to smoke are declining. the government knows this, all of these programs will be paid for via direct taxes on other consumer items in addition to existing sales tax. sorry. there just are not enough smokers. hope we are all prepared to pay more for our big mac, gas etc.

I'm not a smoker and am aware of the hazards of smoking. I am overweight and this is a hazard. If smokers get taxed for smoking, should't we be taxed for overeating and consuming junk food. Fat is killing a whole lot more folks than cigaretts.

I think it is wrong. I believe the government is discrimanting against smokers and tobacco users. It is not illegal and they are punishing us for it. It is not fair for tobacco users who are already paying hefty taxes in Texas to pay for school funding. What happens when they drive the cost of tobacco up so high that no one can afford it. Then you have the same problem as before. It is not a fix to the problem, it is a temporary relief untill there is no money left to pay for school funding and child healthcare. Where will they go next? If they want american taxpayers to pay for it then it should be every american being taxed not just tobacco users

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