LEAVE THOSE SMOKERS ALONE

March 3, 2006

The $600 million-a-year anti-smoking industry has increased government size and power by lobbying against smoking in public places. Yet, anti-smoking activists are depriving smokers of their rights using junk science and scare tactics, says Joseph Bast of the Heartland Institute.

Smokers pay for their habit:

  • The 2004 average retail price of a pack of cigarettes was $3.82. The federal tax was $0.47 and the state tax was$1.41, nearly half the retail price.
  • Smokers in some states pay more in taxes on cigarettes than in state income taxes, which is a polite way of saying smokers are forced to pay twice as much in state taxes as nonsmokers.

Junk science and second-hand smoke:

  • Anti-smoking activists claim second-hand smoke contains 4,000 poisons and carcinogens -- and even a tiny dose severely affects health; yet science disproves this allegation.
  • A 2003 British Medical Journal study repudiated the cause-effect relationship between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco-related mortality.

Cigarette use and exposure continue to decrease:

  • Cigarette consumption fell 60 percent since 1950, according to Harvard University professor Kip Viscusi.
  • Second-hand smoke exposure fell 68 percent among children and 75 percent among adults, between 1988 and 2002, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Source: Joseph Bast, "Leave Those Smokers Alone," Heartland Institute, January 1, 2006.

 

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