What is the Real Reason People Aren't Smoking as Much Anymore?


| 4 Comments
Today in class we talked about whether or not smoking was bad for you or not.  A brief historical analysis was given of the history of smoking, and the conclusion was met that in the end smoking will eventually kill you.  

Smoking has been around for hundreds of years in wealthy countries, and is still a very popular, and in my opinion nasty habit.  If for some reason you aren't familiar with what smoking is, here is a brief overview of it.

In class we also discussed how smoking rates, although still high, have greatly decreased from a century or even fifty years ago.  This is where the questions can start to roll in.  What is the cause of this steep decline?

Many will argue that due to medical advances and a greater common knowledge about the harmful effects of smoking, more people have quit, while others are less inclined to start.  Another reason could be the creation of 'E Cigs' , which are electronic smoking devices used to help people quit, and control their smoking.

Although each of the above reasons provide adequate responses for why smoking rates have decreased over the last century, I want to point out what I believe is the true reason for why less Americans are smoking today, than in 1950.  I think that it is due to increases in tobacco tax rates and the effects that they have had on the prices of cigarettes.  People simply do not have enough money anymore to continue buying tobacco products on the regular.

By the year of 1969 all states and including the District of Columbia had cigarette taxes.  In conjunction with this, studies show that rates also began to decline at this time for smoking.  Is there a correlation or was this just happen by chance or luck?

I would have to stay no and stick with my argument.  Since 1969 when tobacco taxes were enacted throughout all fifty states, the amount that has to be paid per pack of cigarettes has steadily increased.  Meanwhile the percentage of smokers in the US has dropped.

In addition in 2009, President Obama signed the Children's Health Insurance Reauthorization Act, which once again raised nationwide taxes on tobacco.  Since this law was passed and put into effect smoke rates have been lower than ever.

USA Today has an article on the front page of their paper today commenting on this big tax increase and the effect it has had on reducing smoking throughout the country, while at the same time raising money for our government.

I ask a simple question now.  Tax increases on tobacco have worked in the past to raise money, while at the same time encourage people to quit or consume less tobacco products.  Do you think our government should once again raise the tobacco tax in order to encourage less smoking? 

In a time where many are struggling economically, maybe if cigarette prices continue to rise less will have the funds to pay for them on the regular.  Hopefully that is the case, as if less people are smoking, that means less are dying from tobacco use.



4 Comments

If they raise taxes again and people stop smoking the government would be losing millions in tax dollars. Its a terrible way to think about it but the government needs smokers because of the tax dollars they give the struggling government. http://blog.turbotax.intuit.com/2010/06/22/how-much-is-the-government-making-off-of-tobacco/

What about the effects on other smoking products such as marijuana? Do you think that since cigarettes have reached an incredibly high price, the people who stopped smoking cigarettes moved on to start smoking marijuana? They wouldn't have to pay the tax for it. Another question I have is if marijuana was made legal and the Fed established a high tax on marijuana similar to cigarettes, do you think the people who initially switched would then switch back?

Im not sure what the exact correlation would be in your first question. I do know that cigarettes can become extremely expensive, however i do not know if marijuana is the same. Marijuana is obviously not taxed due to the fact that it is illegal to sell. However this also means that their is no price ceiling for the product, and a dealer can sell for whatever price they want, including one that is more expensive than cigarettes. In addition cigarettes give temporary stress relief, and relax many, while on the other hand marijuana supplies a high which lasts longer than any affect a cigarette can have. On to your next question, i am not sure if people would switch in the first place due to the separate affects that each product has. Yet i do believe that if marijuana was made legal, it would be highly taxed by our government. The government has no reason to make marijuana legal, yet a monetary incentive may make them change their minds, and taxing it would make that possible.

Im not sure what the exact correlation would be in your first question. I do know that cigarettes can become extremely expensive, however i do not know if marijuana is the same. Marijuana is obviously not taxed due to the fact that it is illegal to sell. However this also means that their is no price ceiling for the product, and a dealer can sell for whatever price they want, including one that is more expensive than cigarettes. In addition cigarettes give temporary stress relief, and relax many, while on the other hand marijuana supplies a high which lasts longer than any affect a cigarette can have. On to your next question, i am not sure if people would switch in the first place due to the separate affects that each product has. Yet i do believe that if marijuana was made legal, it would be highly taxed by our government. The government has no reason to make marijuana legal, yet a monetary incentive may make them change their minds, and taxing it would make that possible.

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