Cigarette Tax Increase
POSTED: Saturday, February 7, 2009 - 10:16pm
UPDATED: Thursday, April 8, 2010 - 12:43am
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."