Home > Uncategorized > Yes on Prop 29

Yes on Prop 29

I actually have a problem with cigarette taxes in that they’re extremely regressive.  Most of the top 1 percent don’t smoke.  Over the past have century, it’s become much more exclusively a lower class vice.  It’s very easy to dismiss the concern because smoking is a choice, but for the fact that you’re talking about the most addictive substance known.  And much like passing laws for tougher laws against child molesters (would you ever oppose tougher laws for child molesters no matter how tough they are already?), tobacco companies make easy targets.  Yes, the demand curve is elastic to some degree, and increasing prices does diminish consumption despite the addiction, which means that not all of the revenue generation can be passed off to the consumer.  The point is, will you ever oppose more cigarette taxes?  I think this is the third or fourth tobacco tax we will have voted on (not sure how many have passed), and this one is a doozy!  Five cents per cigarette, meaning $1.00 per pack.  That will more than double the existing tax.  And it will probably result in a larger black market.

Okay, that’s the downside.  On the other hand, the tax increases and the revenue-backed anti-smoking programs in California have actually worked.  Fewer teenagers are smoking.  More adults are quitting.  That will save some lives.

Where will the dollar go?  If implemented as planned, 60 cents will go to grants and loans to support research on cancer and other tobacco-related diseases.  15 cents would go to build facilities for the research.  20 cents would go to prevention and cessation programs.  3 cents would go to fight the aforementioned black market.  And 2 cents would go to administration of the fund (which I think would set a record for government efficiency!).

There’s also a provision for “backfill” payments to cover the earlier taxes, where revenues might be lost because the deterrence function is actually effective at addiction reduction.

The primary opposition is coming from the usual tax posses, some Chamber folk, and you know who.  In support is a slew of cancer non-profits and medical associations.  The opposition claims that grants will go out of state, and laments the lack of money going to school programs (which I admit would make me slightly more enthusiastic a supporter).  And for some reason the opposition in the Voter Information Guide is spending some of its space opposing high speed rail.

So, anyway, I support it.  I won’t be broken-hearted if it fails.  Politically speaking, I would like to see the measure pass because the Republicans are literally destroying the economy with an intransigent opposition to all things tax, and maybe it’ll send some sort of message.  And research is one of the few industries still thriving in this country – it makes sense to subsidize it.  It’s research which will save lives.

So, good cause and all.  Ra ra.

I have to say also that the melodramatic whining from self-proclaimed “libertarians” generating the “smoking Nazi” image above presents an extra incentive.

  1. May 25, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    You’re right, it is a very regressive tax. In a way it taxes the poorest of the poor. It is that class that has hung on to smoking despite the cancer and the price.
    The beggars will have to work harder to get their tobacco. The “GR” crowd will have less money for food.
    Stress, desperation and nothing to do for money. Nowhere to stay. No help of any kind, treated like rabid animals by those just a little bit better off….might as well have a cigarette.

  2. tra
    May 25, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    the “smoking Nazi” image

    Wait…wouldn’t that be the “smoking Commie” image?

  3. Joseph Byrd
    May 25, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    This is an enlightened view, and I appreciate it, particularly because it calls attention to the fact that this is actually a tax on the bottom tier on the socio-economic scale. We are placing a huge tax burden on poor people.

    It’s hard not to see this as the worst kind of class warfare: taxing the poor because of a drug that they have been addicted to because it enriches the already obscene wealth of the Tobacco Industry.

    Without discussing Prop 29, let’s have a little history lesson. Before WWII there were plenty of smokers in the US, but not a majority. Then with the war, the cigarette companies discovered a tool that changed the paradigm. With the connivance of the US Military, they provided free cigarettes to millions of young American servicemen. FREE! They were even credited with “patriotism” for this, the most cynical marketing ploy capitalism had yet invented.

    And not just free cigarettes…they sent abroad whole troupes of stars of radio and screen, Jack Benny, Louis Armstrong, Bob Hope, Betty Grable, the Grand Ol Opry, under the banner of The Camel Caravan of Stars and its ilk, providing what was in reality free advertising. Free promotion that helped addict an entire generation of young men. Those men came home and because cigarettes created foul breath and stinking ashtrays, their wives and girlfriends took up the habit in self defense. The most addicted population in world history was the result. It took decades to even begin to change, while the corporations ran print and later TV ads promoting the healthfulness and sophistication of smoking. No movie was without a suave male star or a seductive woman holding a cigarette.

    Poor people did not create this situation; they were, and are, its victims. But not just the poor. Intelligent, educated people, like my parents and my wife’s parents, were lifelong addicts. In fact, every effort was made to convince them they weren’t addicts, merely people who enjoyed a harmless energy boost.

    What if you could make a drug that made tense people relaxed, that gave a burst of energy to those who were exhausted, that had the magical property of making its users feel better instantly? That was cigarettes (not tobacco per se, because pipe and cigar tobacco is much less effective at getting you addicted). Just to make sure, additives boosted the natural nicotine content, thus making them even more addictive.

    The problem here is not cigarettes so much as it is the freedom capitalism gives to anyone who does something for profit. And the losers are the poor, who can’t afford expensive clinics or sessions of therapy. These are people who have to wait in line for welfare, be degraded by food stamp means test, by the indignity subjected to those on unemployment insurance, by all the devices the System uses to make them feel their inferiority. Now we are adding to their burden by a tax that affects only the most helpless against the addiction our economic system has foisted on them.

    Cigarettes are worse than heroin, but are perfectly legal. Until we outlaw them, we are simply punishing poor people.

    There is only one small reason I support Prop. 29: it has been proven that young people are dissuaded from smoking by raising the cost of cigarettes. I guess that makes sense. But the system that created addiction has not suffered… it has simply moved its market to the Third World, where addiction is rampant. Japan, for example. China. India. Pakistan. Indonesia. Africa.

    The only truly moral alternative is to make cigarettes illegal in the US, and to penalize companies that sell to the Third World — say, make them pay a 90% tax on gross sales. THAT would help end the stranglehold Big Tobacco has on the world. Will that ever happen under capitalism?

  4. 69er
    May 25, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    I am still debating this one with myself. I can see how it will hurt the addicted buy causing them who will not quit due to the added cost. And yet I can see the good that could possibly come from the additional money to fight the tobacco problem and cause some to stop due to the additional cost. I myself quit 20 years ago after 40 years of smoking. I quit after spending the night sitting with a friend during his last night alive, he died of lung cancer. At the end I was doing 3 packs a day on average. It isn’t easy, but it can be done.

  5. May 25, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Excellent points here all around.

    Cigarette pushers are among the lowest forms of scum. An absolute scourge.

  6. Anonymous
    May 25, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Yeah! Revoke ALL cigarette taxes so the poor can smoke themselves to death. Won’t that make the 1% happy! Romneycare!

  7. grackle
    May 25, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    This is just so California: here we are in a state that has dropped almost all support for higher education, has justified lower support for K-12 by rationalizing lottery profits replacing primary support, which can barely support basic services, which is closing large portions of its wonderful state park system… and you want to support a regressive tax which creates a permanent independent bureaucracy to support research which is already amply funded, earmarks funds for a boutique cause and does nothing to address any of the real problems of the state. This is right up there with outlawing eating horses and duck liver, except it is even worse for the above stated reasons. It is just fundamentally bad law. I have to disagree with you on this one.

  8. Eric Kirk
    May 26, 2012 at 12:48 am

    the “smoking Nazi” image

    Wait…wouldn’t that be the “smoking Commie” image?

    Move your mouse over the image and see how they labelled it. I don’t think their brain power is any more forceful than their creativity.

    Grackle – I too would have been happier if it all went into school funds. Anti-smoking programs and all, which apparently work. In fact the opposition notes that nothing in this one is being sent to the schools, and I think that’s a legit complaint.

  9. May 26, 2012 at 1:32 am

    Can’t sleep, thank heaven there’s blogging.
    I guess I’m the “Scum of the Earth” because I sell cigarettes. I do try to dissuade young people whom I know. I feel bad about them buying cigs and many of my Son’s friends go to the other store to buy them. I also feel bad about selling some of the really, really bad “food” and of course there’s the whole alcohol issue. I know most of the people who come in to buy our booze are alcoholics and shouldn’t be drinking. But like it say’s in the Bible: “Give strong-drink to him who’s about to die to ease his passing…” or something like that.
    Like the above comment said, the problem really is with capitalism and the idea that “certain” people are allowed to sell lead-filled life jackets if it makes money.
    That is one of the draw-backs of our freedom, and that is the freedom of people to make really bad decisions. but not to worry, our right to make our own decisions is being done away with; slowly at first, and then more quickly as the year goes on. by this time next year we will have forgotten what it was like to decide for yourself whether you could enjoy a guilty pleasure, like a cigarette or a drink.

  10. walt
    May 26, 2012 at 6:14 am

    “That is one of the draw-backs of our freedom, and that is the freedom of people to make really bad decisions” Wrong: it’s the freedom to let the rich program the poor, though TV advertising and manipulation with media “heros” in movies. We had a chance to eliminate meth, but it was quashed to ensure the rich could get richer. Now we have “energy drinks” and tatoos. . .just WAIT to see the health ramifications of those.

    The poor are already being “cleansed” with junk food, meth, wars, casinos and “austerity”. Will taxing them to save them from Madison Avenue be worse for them?

  11. May 26, 2012 at 6:36 am

    This just goes to show how corrupted and immoral “democracy” has made us. I’m not sure if any of you would be willing to beat up some homeless fellow walking down the street and take his wallet, but that’s what you’re doing with this tax. You just think it’s ok to beat someone up and steal from him via the ballot box.

    I would never vote to tax someone else if that tax wouldn’t apply to me.

  12. May 26, 2012 at 6:44 am

    I was pleased to see the tone of doubt in your article. I’m an ex-tobacco smoker and it is what will probably still get me. My dad died of cancer which was clearly the result of smoking. I’ve worked as an anti-tobacco advocate and a smoking cessation coordinator. Even so, I’m firmly against this measure. A sufficient tax is a prohibition, and I don’t approve of prohibitions in a “free” country. Further, I now realize what unimaginable hubris and monstrous self deceit it is to suggest we can “save people” by hounding them into submission. Tobacco is dangerous, of course it is. But people are going to die of something, and it’s ludicrous to talk about the number of “lives saved”. I stopped smoking and I’m glad; I wouldn’t wish tobacco use on anyone. Tobacco education only sort of works; tobacco cessation programs only modestly work. People do what they do for complex reasons, and that’s as true of drug use as anything. More money for more useless bureaucratic jobs probably isn’t going to “save more lives”, and in the land of the free and home of the brave, people should be left alone to do what they choose without well meaning idiots passing laws against them.
    Change your mind, Erik, vote no on 29.
    Also: glad to see you on Heraldo!.

  13. Anonymous
    May 26, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Yet Fred is still on SSI

    Please stop taking from us all Fred

  14. May 26, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Nope. I actually work 6 or 7 days a week, but thanks. I know I hit a nerve when the personal attacks start.

  15. High Finance
    May 26, 2012 at 7:43 am

    So WHY is this a tax on the poorest people ? Why does a far larger percentage of poor people smoke more than the “1%” ? Everybody poor or rich knows it is bad for you.

    I am not saying I know the answer, I am asking a question.

    Joe Byrd, when you say “Cigarettes are worse than heroin” you lose a lot of people with such over the top hyperbole. I understand what you mean, Cigarettes are worse for the country as a whole than heroin because of its far more wide use. However for the individual there is no comparison, Heroin is a thousand times worse.

    But you make a huge point when you said “It has been proven that young people are dissuaded from smoking by raising the price of Cigarettes. This is true and equally true for illegal drugs. It is exactly why pot should never be legalized.

  16. Mitch
    May 26, 2012 at 8:12 am

    YES ON 29.

    Several posters, including Eric, have indicated their half-hearted support.

    29 has my full support, for exactly the reason acknowledged by Joseph Byrd — it will deter kids from getting hooked.

    If you want to complain about taxes on the poor, cancel the lottery.

    Then provide sufficient state funds to ensure that anyone who wants to stop smoking can get free anti-smoking aids by walking into any pharmacy. That would probably pay for itself over time in reduced MediCal costs.

    Even if 29 were a bill hooting blurf on speckna, I’d be for it just because of the deceptive campaign waged by its enemies.

  17. Anonymous
    May 26, 2012 at 8:47 am

    “29 has my full support, for exactly the reason acknowledged by Joseph Byrd — it will deter kids from getting hooked.”

    It will do no such thing whatsoever. It has never done any such thing whatsover. NO TO THIS TAX. It’s more weight on the backs of people who need it least of all.

  18. Anonymous
    May 26, 2012 at 8:50 am

    ” I’d be for it just because of the deceptive campaign waged by its enemies.”

    And here’s why you’re not all that intelligent, pardner. You gone done think like an idjit sometiimes.

  19. Anonymous
    May 26, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Thinking taxes? Always pegging down the poor…at the pump, in the grocery store, with the bills etc.

    Start a $5 tax on all premium internet services. Only the wealthiest people who already want to pay over $80/month on internet (insane if you ask me) will be hit. Add a $5 registration tax on every fourth or more vehicle a family owns. Howabout a new tax on wine. How about a $5 tax on portable technology that costs over $300 per item.

  20. Anonymous
    May 26, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Add a one-time $500,000 tax to every quarter acre any and all development companies want to pave.

  21. Anonymous
    May 26, 2012 at 9:12 am

    If you’re a social engineer, the position should require that you pay an annual tax of $1 for every square foot of natural earth your planning paves. Everybody who has a deciding voice in the planning process of such projects will pay a similar tax anually. Doesn’t matter if it’s a dollar or ten cents, we would see REAL necessary change around planning for the future.

  22. Anonymous
    May 26, 2012 at 9:13 am

    …or…wait…can we get away with calling them “fees” instead of “taxes”? Then we can go to town feeing up the place.

    America’s battle cry: FEE THE PEOPLE!

  23. May 26, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Notice these last few tax proposals always attack someone else? That’s what this is all about: Go after smaller groups who may not have the means or manpower to defend themselves. Divide and conquer is how it works:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

    Martin Niemöller

  24. Anonymous
    May 26, 2012 at 9:42 am

    How about everytime you trade in your new car for a newer one, you pay a cumulative (!) $100 registration tax. Are you on your fifth trade in? $500. Again, only the wealthiest people, who can and do trade in their vehicles for a brand new one every year or so, will be hit. How about a new $5,000 annual tax on owning an airplane. How about if you’re already retired, you pay an annual $3,000 corporate pension tax every year to support the future of those who will never be able to retire. How about a tax that doubles the price of designer business suits. How about a business suit dry cleaning tax. How about a paid vacation tax.

  25. Anonymous
    May 26, 2012 at 9:48 am

    “Notice these last few tax proposals always attack someone else? That’s what this is all about: Go after smaller groups who may not have the means or manpower to defend themselves. Divide and conquer is how it works”

    That’s obvoiusly not even close to the point I was making with examples of alternate tax proposals. The proposed tax attacks “someone else”. It affects the poor most of all, as usual. And it’s branded in staple spending.

    An insanely huge tax on new infrastructure over natural space is a fantastic idea. It absolutely “attacks” somebody else…those “somebodies” who are deciding the very physical state of our permanent environment forever.

    Pull the wool off your eyes and get with the now. If you want to use Nazi Germany as an example, for crying out loud (rhetoric!) compare the existing now to the existing then instead of bullshitting that necessary changes are based on the same principles. They are not, and it’s obvious.

  26. Mitch
    May 26, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Anonymous 8:47, 8:50, 9:00, 9:02, 9:12, and 9:13,

    Your assertions are wrong. The facts are here:

    http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0098.pdf

    or read what the tobacco companies have said, here:

    http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0146.pdf

    As one example, RJ Reynolds has said: If prices were 10% higher, 12-17 incidence [youth smoking] would be 11.9% lower.

    And according to that document, the consensus in the peer-reviewed literature is that every 10 percent increase in the real price of cigarettes reduces overall cigarette consumption by approximately three to five percent, reduces the number of young-adult smokers by 3.5 percent, and reduces the number of kids who smoke by six or seven percent

  27. Mitch
    May 26, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Here’s what RJReynolds said, back in 1982, about the relationship between cigarette prices and youth smoking:

    “If prices were 10% higher, 12-17 incidence [youth smoking] would be 11.9% lower.”

    They know. But they don’t mind hooking kids on their products. Bottom line: what’s 100,000 needless deaths from excruciating cancers, when there are profits to be made?

  28. May 26, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Enough of the anti- business bs, Mitch, although I’ll admit it works well in an anti- business state like California. That’s why proponents are using that tact.

    Smokers are paying the tax, not the tobacco companies.

  29. Anonymous
    May 26, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Create a fifty cent per item tax on all products that contain artificial sweeteners. Create a tax on GMO food. Tax alcohol way more. Octuple the tax on garbage service if you introduce more than 1 can per week into fills. Tax tax tax!!!! Money money money! Our own county supervisors get paid over $20,000 MORE now per year than the exact same position payed five or so years ago. They can smoke fancy cigarettes all they want. etc. etc. etc. It’s insane, the tug of war for money and how easily people get distracted about who’s winning. Collective focus on the real issue needs to happen.

    The easiest way for a politico to get their name in the book, get a whole bunch of “fundraising donations” etc. is to make a proposal like this. This is politics (business) as usual.

  30. Anonymous
    May 26, 2012 at 10:03 am

    “Smokers are paying the tax, not the tobacco companies.”

    I might be confused about your point vs. your last post, but this makes real sense.

  31. Anonymous
    May 26, 2012 at 10:06 am

    ““If prices were 10% higher, 12-17 incidence [youth smoking] would be 11.9% lower.”

    …yet the relative price increase adjusted for inflation is much greater than 10% and no such change has happened.

  32. Anonymous
    May 26, 2012 at 10:41 am

    ” by this time next year we will have forgotten what it was like to decide for yourself whether you could enjoy a guilty pleasure, like a cigarette or a drink.”

    movie dad speakum lotta sense, as usual. Everybody who supports this tax has already forgotten about all identical taxes already imposed over the years (cigarettes have already been piled with more new fees and taxes than any one of us can remember off the top of our heads). Lots of good those have done, eh? The working class has never had it as good as they do now, thanks to increasing bridge tolls, cigarette taxes, etc. and all the fantastic uses that money’s been put to. It was drilled into my brain when I was young, that smoking was “bad”. My peers smoke at least as much. Education is everything in this matter.

  33. Mitch
    May 26, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Anonymous will defend to the death your right to get cancer cheap. I wonder why?

  34. Julie Timmons
    May 26, 2012 at 11:23 am

    I voted “Yes” and I’m glad I did.

  35. Anonymous
    May 26, 2012 at 11:26 am

    “Anonymous will defend to the death your right to get cancer cheap. I wonder why?”

    Is that really what you think I’m doing? Do you assume I smoke cigarettes because I’m not supporting this tax?

  36. Mitch
    May 26, 2012 at 11:31 am

    No, Anonymous. I assume you’re paid by tobacco lobbyists.

  37. Anonymous
    May 26, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Mitch, do you assume you read blogs everyday and aren’t influenced by the pool of “thinking”? Are you a fan of literature? I bet you’ve read more “High Finance” than any other author. The logic and intelligence of your comments are at least comperable.

  38. Mitch
    May 26, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Anonymous, you’ve just ruined Hifi’s day. And it’s “comparable.” Two “a”‘s.

  39. Anonymous
    May 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    “it’s “comparable.” Two “a”‘s.”

    It’s a matter of “intelligence” not “booksmarts”. Hey look! It’s a “blog topic”! Mitch the mod suddenly supports to his death, the state government’s right to suddenly reach into the general public’s pockets and start taking more money. He googled a couple of things, too. Maybe “it’s all about cigarettes” with mitch. This tax is, after all, publicized as an extremely prejudiced motive adding further burden on the cursed population of poor judgement and bad influence, doomed to die young and miserable, after lots of pain and suffering for them and their family and everybody in the world, especially people who don’t smoke cigarettes. May the light of non-cigarette smokers’ guidance bring forth from the falling rubble of everybody’s society, a castle made of mercilessly righteous stone. TAX THE SHIT OUT OF ‘EM, BABY! NO MERCY!

    I bet you wear a ballcap, mitch. If you don’t wear a ballcap, I am wrong no matter how often I state that you do wear a ballcap. You’re wrong on this one. #29 is a proposition that should be taken off the table, there are far too many obvious alternatives to every area of concern and many wouldn’t involve suddenly taking more money from the general public, in a fringe industry no less. Tell whoever wrote #29 that their heart may be in the right place but their methods are not. They should think about it over a cup of their own favorite poison before writing another proposal.

  40. Mitch
    May 26, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Anonymous,

    Anything that makes kids less inclined to take up tobacco smoking is a win in my book. Anything that encourages addicted people to quit smoking is a win in my book.

    If people are going to keep smoking, they should pay for the added health care costs. This tax is as good a way of implementing that as any. It would be nice if the threat of lung cancer were enough to make people quit, but if kids respond more to spending an extra buck than to increasing their risk of dying a miserable premature death, so be it.

    Prop 29 had overwhelming support until the tobacco company whores began their anti-29 campaign, one that never even mentions the word tobacco.

    I’m sure the tobacco company whores have money to pay for some astroturf on blogs. They were certainly able to buy some retiree names to put on their ballot arguments, and to create their very own nice sounding alternatives to the real medical organizations that are all for 29.

  41. May 26, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Yep. There he goes with his anti- business stuff again. I hope I never meet you in person, Mitch.

  42. Eric Kirk
    May 26, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    So WHY is this a tax on the poorest people ? Why does a far larger percentage of poor people smoke more than the “1%” ? Everybody poor or rich knows it is bad for you.

    I don’t know. I have theories, but they aren’t based on any data. The vast majority of cigarette habits begin during childhood – almost nobody starts as an adult, so that’s where you want to look. Education is probably a factor. There are probably cultural components as well, which affect the nature and impact of “peer pressure.”

    “Smokers are paying the tax, not the tobacco companies.”

    Again, not entirely true. Because consumption declines with increased prices, they won’t be able to pass it all onto the consumer.

    And I agree with whoever said that the lottery is a regressive tax. I think it actually preys on poverty viciously.

  43. tra
    May 26, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    As far as whether I want to vote for this additional tax on tobacco, I have mixed feelings.

    The argument that it hits poor people hardest concerns me greatly. The counterargument that this shouldn’t matter because if people don’t want to pay the tax they should just quit smoking — well, that argument is somewhat undercut by the fact that tobacco is so highly addictive. Addiction is sometimes referred to as a “disease,” and I think there’s something to that, since some people seem to be more susceptible to various addictions than others, and in some cases genetic predisposition may play a role. Which means that it may be that at least some of the people who end up being targeting by the tax may have already drawn the short straw, so to speak, and now we’re making them pay for it.

    On the other other hand, I remember reading that there is pretty strong evidence that raising the price can reliably by projected to reduce the number of young people who start smoking in the first place, which is obviously a huge benefit both to those people, and to society at large.

    And now I see that there is also an argument being advanced that by raising this tax now, it may dampen the public’s willingness to support other taxes in the fall — taxes that, unlike this one, would actually put money into the general fund to help pay for vital services like education and health care and so on — money that is desperately needed, as these areas have already been cut deeply and would have to be cut even more deeply if we don’t come up with more general fund revenues. I’m afraid this argument may have some validity to it.

    It seems to me that there are some pretty strong arguments on both sides. I am actually undecided on this at the moment…but not because I have any real doubt that cigarette smoking can be really, really bad for you.

  44. High Finance
    May 26, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Democrat campaign slogan;

    “Fee the people”

    Good one.

  45. Down the Road
    May 26, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    I don’t smoke. I voted no. This is just another ploy for the bureaucracy and non-profits to line their pockets. Californians
    that smoke already pay millions for cancer research and programs
    that are ineffective.

  46. grackle
    May 26, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    I can appreciate that Mitch and others feel they have the right and the responsibility to help others lead virtuous lives, that he and they know what others ought to do, and that it is all for the children. Let’s grant all of those things. That still leaves this as a bill that (1) creates a bureaucracy that does not now exist and is not answerable to much of anyone, (2) creates a funding mechanism for a narrow interest that, according to the National Cancer Institute was funded to the tune of more than 3, 316,500.000 in 2010 (thats three + billion dollars), i.e. an interest that is quite well funded without this, (3) neglects the real needs of the state to which such funding could be applied, (4) seems to apply thusly to perpetuity.

    It all makes me suspicious that this is an example of vested interests who believe that they can appeal to sentimentality and fuzzy thinking to engineer a little empire with the voters help. I admit that I have been a bit jaundiced ever since the near eradication of polio did not foretell the demise of the March of Dimes. Those with their snouts in that particular trough merely shape-shifted into another really-necessary-amorphous-organization that could continue to collect dollars for something that theretofore had not occurred to them to be necessary. A Zombie charity, if you will. This has all the marks of creating just such an undead organization with no end in sight.

  47. swine barn
    May 26, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Maybe instead of a tax, each pack of cigarettes should just go up a dollar and come with a free lottery ticket. Good for the schools!

  48. Eric Kirk
    May 26, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Californians
    that smoke already pay millions for cancer research and programs
    that are ineffective.

    Can you expand on the ineffective point?

  49. Jim White
    May 26, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    I wonder what the (mostly uninsured) cancer epidemic is costing the nation?

  50. Mr. Clean Lung
    May 27, 2012 at 12:25 am

    Thank you Jim White!

    It’s just a reality that smokers have a much higher rate of lung cancer than non-smokers. So the question then becomes who pays for the support of these people as they die? Maybe they have insurance. But maybe not. Then who pays the bills?

    I am guessing I am footing part of the bill for the lower income people who cannot afford health insurance (who just happen to be the same people that this bill will have the most drastic effect on).

    If I have to spend all that money on other people’s drug habits, how on earth am I gonna support my own?

  51. May 27, 2012 at 8:06 am

    If you are worried about the cost of medicine, you should be taxing sugary, fatty food, that’s what is really driving our health crisis. The idea that we should pass legislation because someone making their own choices might cost us something in taxes is simplistic and selfish, particularly when we’re cannibalized by the wealthy in a myriad of ways every day without complaint.
    The contention that raising prices might keep kids from smoking is specious. The first use rate of tobacco, like the crime rate, fluctuates according to many variables, and price is the least influential. Consider recreational drugs which are prohibited, and so should cost a great deal, yet kids find ways to try them, anyway.,
    Furthermore, the “Helen Lovejoy” rationale (“Won’t somebody please think of the children!”) is a lousy justification for telling adults what to do. Who appointed you everyone’s parent? If you want to feel good about yourself for worrying about others, contribute to Oxfam.
    This is supposed to be a nation where people are free to live their lives without the interference of know-it-all dogooders. Strike a blow for minding your own business, vote :”no” on 29.

  52. Mitch
    May 27, 2012 at 8:07 am

    How curious that Fred thinks I’m anti-business. How curious that grackle thinks I “know what others ought to do.”

    First, I’m not anti-business. I’m opposed to a business whose product, when used as intended, causes people to die horrible deaths.

    Second, I don’t know what others ought to do, and I don’t pretend to know that. If people of their free will want to smoke I have no interest in standing in their way. I wish they could get the smoking product of their choice free of charge.

    But as long as our economic system makes it profitable for some people to go into a business convincing others to give themselves cancer with an addictive substance, I think the rest of us are being perfectly reasonable to seek to limit the damage done by the bastards who choose that line of work.

    Were tobacco a food or an official drug its sale for profit would have been regulated away by now, and nobody would think twice. We don’t like carcinogens in our food, and we don’t like lung cancer as a known side effect in our medicines. Because tobacco lobbyists have carved out an exception for tobacco, it can continue to be sold for profit. Like so much that goes on today, that’s legalized crime. Try serving non-pasteurized milk at a high school… not nearly as risky as putting cigarette smoke up the kids lungs, but you’d be arrested pretty quickly.

    If someone wants to grow their own tobacco or set up a tobacco collective with a North Carolina farmer, I think that’s great. The farmer gets an income, the addict gets their nicotine, and the medical industry gets their patient. I just don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest to have a tobacco industry pay lobbyists, advertising executives, and Congressmen in order that they get to create new generations of addicts who will die of lung cancer.

  53. May 27, 2012 at 8:27 am

    I also have mixed feelings on this one. The second-hand effects it has on society as a whole means it should be taxed more heavily, so that is why it has my hesitant support. I don’t care about it dissuading people, however. Free choice about what you want to put into your body.

  54. firesidechet@hotmail.com
    May 27, 2012 at 8:33 am

    At some point , the people will grow their own
    .It’s still legal to do so in CA. .

  55. Mitch
    May 27, 2012 at 8:36 am

    There is a well-documented connection between increased taxes on cigarettes and reduced use, especially by kids.

    http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/preventing-youth-tobacco-use/exec-summary.pdf

    That Fred would quote Martin Niemoller in this context is a sign of the craziness with which some people respond to this issue. Given a choice of worrying about the greed of cancer researchers or the greed of an industry that has continued to hook people on a known carcinogen, some choose to worry about the cancer researchers. Crazy.

  56. Anonymous
    May 27, 2012 at 10:19 am

    mitch, you’re barking up an empty tree, louder and louder. “It’s all about cigarettes” with you, just like a royal dumbass. what’s your poison?

    I’d love to see mitch walk into a thinktank full of your personal favoite philosophers and governing architects of our era, and announce to all of them who smoke cigarettes that he demands they start handing more money over to the government, because of his vendetta against their tobacco habit. I’d love to see mitch’s life audited for gross and debilitating excesses as well. Mitch believes he is “all about anti-cigarette” but all he is doing in reality is checking a box on a piece of paper that says he think it’s a good idea to keep robbing the general public blind a little bit more.

    You really bury your credibility, mitch. The existence of cigarettes in commercial trade does not justify robbing the public like this. Nor does alcohol, marijuana, dvd’s, tortilla chips or their partner salsa. If you gave half a shit about the health of kids and the environment, you’d attack the plastics/electrocircuit industry, but a revolution of the mind like that would involve way too much introspection on your part, into your own beyond-hopeless addiction to the industry. These kinds of taxes have been forced on the general public too many times. they’ve accomplished two things: jack and squat. You’ve been comfy in your little nook of the world so long you lack perspective. It sucks that you are as predictably LOSER as you’re making yourself out to be, this is the kind of big think that matters in other specific issues as well.

    Mitch = typical ballcap wearing dumbass.

  57. Mitch
    May 27, 2012 at 10:27 am

    You really bury your credibility, mitch.

    Credibility?

  58. Anonymous
    May 27, 2012 at 10:30 am

    ” I just don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest to have a tobacco industry pay lobbyists, advertising executives, and Congressmen in order that they get to create new generations of addicts who will die of lung cancer.”

    So mitch’s personal answer is a sworn statement of his consent for the government to start milking the victims a bit more at the ballot booth. What a fantastically IDIOTIC idea!!! Some politicians wrote a bill and put it on a desk knowing dupes like mitch would be happy to cheerlead their rise to political fortune.

  59. Anonymous
    May 27, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Yes, mitch, credibility. As in, when corresponding with you, giving you credit for having really thought about what you propose, etc….chains of cause and consequence, the big picture etc.

  60. Anonymous
    May 27, 2012 at 10:36 am

    “Given a choice of worrying about the greed of cancer researchers or the greed of an industry that has continued to hook people on a known carcinogen, some choose to worry about the cancer researchers. Crazy.”

    Crazy is sticking it straight to the victims….again and again and again.

  61. Mitch
    May 27, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Oh, that credibility.

    If it were illegal to profit off selling an addictive product which, when used as intended, causes early death from a horrible disease, I’d be against taxing that product.

    But it’s legal to profit off selling that product, so there will always be scum trying to hook kids on it. So I support raising the price of the product to try to limit the damage. Sorry if that’s not big picture enough.

    YES ON 29.

  62. Anonymous
    May 27, 2012 at 10:54 am

    “try” isn’t even the operative word, mitch, as history has proven. The only success of this tax, as history proves, is further burden on the little guy. What’s your poison?

  63. Mitch
    May 27, 2012 at 11:02 am

    The Surgeon General’s report, including lots of information about the ways in which increasing the price of the product reduces its adoption by kids, is online. I provided the link in my comment at 8:36 AM.

    But Anonymous says history has proven otherwise.

    So, on the one hand, the Surgeon General of the United States, along with all researchers not in the pay of Big Tobacco, along with government experts from other countries, all comfortably point to reduced adoption when the price goes up. But, on the other hand, an Anonymous but persistent poster says history has proven otherwise.

    We can’t know anything about who that Anonymous poster is, or whether they are being paid as part of a campaign by the very same people who fought for decades to prevent people from believing that cigarettes cause cancer.

    What to think, what to think?

    YES ON 29.

  64. Anonymous
    May 27, 2012 at 11:05 am

    You’re an idjit, and you make reading this blog predictably drab. Have a nice week, mitch. Stay away from the cancer monsters…there’s one for everybody. TAX THE SHIT OUT OF THE VICTIMS!!! NO MERCY!!!

  65. Anonymous
    May 27, 2012 at 11:07 am

    …what you demonstrate most of all, mitch, is how you need to be governed. Captain Nanny.

  66. Mitch
    May 27, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Thank you, Anonymous. I hope you have a nice week, too. I wish you and your loved ones good health.

  67. Eric Kirk
    May 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    There is a well-documented connection between increased taxes on cigarettes and reduced use, especially by kids.

    Of course, the question to be asked is whether it would make a difference to Prop 29 opponents if they believed there is in fact a connection.

    A similar issue arises with opposition to the death penalty. I don’t believe that it is an effective deterrent to crime. But I would oppose the death penalty even if it is.

  68. back in the saddle
    May 27, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    California ranks 33rd in cigarette tax.

  69. walt
    May 27, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    “[Blank] said it, I believe it, that settles it.”
    “Blank” is: Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Mitt Romney, The Pope, God. . .or Amy Goodman.

    Save your breath, Mitch.

  70. May 27, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    I voted No. I just can’t square the idea of going after the ‘end-user’ and leaving the corporate offices alone. But this is how it usually works. The victims of corporate malfeasance end up paying for the golden-parachutes of the executives who may have illegally foreclosed on their house. Sold them a $25,000 truck knowing the transmissions would fail after 50,000 miles. Bought faulty valves for the Bhopal plant. You know?
    Why should those addicted to a product pay the penalty for the product’s existence? Why aren’t the companies held responsible for medical and social costs? Yeah, yeah, they got sued by the states; but what good has that done?
    When a social worker looks at the cost of doubling the price of a pack of cigarettes, it basically means less milk in the babies mouth. Sad but true.
    Same ol’ story: blame the addict, praise the pusher.

  71. back in the saddle
    May 27, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    The American Cancer Society has funded research that resulted in 46 Nobel Peace Prizes.

  72. Anonymous
    May 27, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Cancer: gasoline, plastics, gasoline, emf, radiation, gasoline, food additives, roundup, gasonline, household chemicals, gasoline, body chemicals, gasoline, gasoline…how many gallons of gasoline burned into the atmosphere every day? How many chemicals ingested by the average 10 year old every day? How many hours engaged in electronic diversions? In the summer the enviroment is forced to be cold (by pumping more heat into the atmosphere) in teh winter the environment is forced to be warm (by pumping more heat into the atmosphere)…etc.

    …etc…

    …the ribbon gangs, for the good of their wallets. We’re fucked, everybody’s being trained to blame the victims. Smoke ’em if you gottem.

  73. Eric Kirk
    May 27, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    he American Cancer Society has funded research that resulted in 46 Nobel Peace Prizes..

    And none for Nobel prizes in medicine, physiology, or chemistry? Odd.

  74. May 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Ok, I’m confused. What’s with the Nobel stuff?

  75. walt
    May 28, 2012 at 7:06 am

    BITS misspoke himself. This from the ACS website:

    ” As the largest non-governmental funder of cancer research, having spent more than $3.6 billion on cancer research since 1946, we’ve played a role in nearly every cancer breakthrough in recent history.
    Our own research and that of our funded researchers helped to confirm the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, established the link between obesity and multiple cancers, developed drugs to treat leukemia and advanced breast cancer, and showed that mammography is the most effective way to detect breast cancer.
    We fund beginning researchers with cutting-edge ideas early in their careers – 46 of whom have gone on to win the Nobel Prize, the highest accolade in scientific achievement. ”

    Not all Nobel Prizes are Peace ones.

  76. Mitch
    May 28, 2012 at 7:35 am

    YES ON 29.

    The tobacco industry, using people like Anonymous, is fighting against Prop 29 using two approaches. First, they claim that increasing the price of tobacco is an example of the nanny state. Second, they claim tobacco is being singled out unfairly.

    The facts suggest otherwise.

    First, the reason young people continue to get hooked on a highly addictive substance that is extremely bad for human health is that the tobacco and media industries own Washington and are able to continue profiting from selling a hazardous product. That’s hardly a “nanny state,” more like a “bought and owned state.”

    Second, tobacco is not just another thing that’s dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death,” is responsible for one in five US deaths, and tobacco smokers die 13-14 years earlier than nonsmokers. And the cigarette industry spends $10 billion a year on advertising and promotions.

    http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/index.htm

  77. Down the Road
    May 28, 2012 at 7:51 am

    Read the State Board of Equalization publication 93. The smoker
    is already paying 87 cents per pack of 20 cigarettes. 12 cents for
    the cigarette tax and 75 cents for the combined surtaxes. Some
    of the tax is a result of proposition 99, November 1988.

    10 cents is deposited in the general fund. 2 cents goes for breast
    cancer research. 25 cents is used for: Tobacco research, education and for tobacco related illnesses for the poor.

    If California really wants to prevent young people from smoking,
    raise the age for buying a pack of cigarettes to 25.

    Vote no on Proposition 29.

  78. Down the Road
    May 28, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Forgot to add that part of the 25 cents is used for completely
    unrelated projects that are not tobacco related.

  79. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 8:44 am

    mitch…mitch mitch mitch…”it’s all about cigarettes” mitch.

    Tobacco causes 1 out of every 5 deaths, and you think I’m falling for some kind of bullshit. If I had a dollar for everything somebody claimed killed every 1 out of 5 people or whatever, 13 of every 10 people would be dead, if not at least mass suffering in the streets. THINK, DUMBASS. This proposed LAW was written by a “charity” that will collect all the money from the general public. CANCER??? You fucking retarded dipshit, take a look at the world around you and focus.

  80. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 8:49 am

    “media industries own Washington and are able to continue profiting from selling a hazardous product.”

    What other ten million commodities apply with even greater urgency that don’t belong to a fringe industry and aren’t being utilized by the general public? TOO MUCH THINKING FOR MITCH. I’m 100,000% supportive of animal rights, but PETA should not be allowed to demand a pet tax starting tomorrow. One tiny example of a much greater issue than mitch can grasp on his soccer mom crusade to protect people from themselves.

  81. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 9:09 am

    “There is a well-documented connection between increased taxes on cigarettes and reduced use, especially by kids.”

    False! Totally false, that’s manufactured crap. How can you feel okay just swallowing that? You want a statistic? Here’s a statistic:

    It’s been well-documented that there is no real connectoin between increasing taxes on cigarettes and reduced use, especially by kids. (“kids” aren’t buying cigarettes to begin with). Study the effects of EDUCATION, like for example within nations where what we call “drugs” have never been made criminal. Magically, a far greater majority of the general public knows better than to screw around with “drugs.

    What a sterilze, corporatized, money grubbing nanny state california is. I always thought the term “nanny state” was coined by ultra conservative wingers, with whom I almost unanimously disagree on political resolves, but the term is completely accurate. This state is really the pits when it comes to government, way too many Mitch’s riding around wearing their ballcaps in their big trucks and fathering their own lame lives into everybody elses whether we like it or not.

  82. tra
    May 28, 2012 at 9:09 am

    “You fucking retarded dipshit…”

    Translation: “I am incapable of making a cogent argument, so I stoop to childish insults.”

  83. Mitch
    May 28, 2012 at 9:10 am

    For prop 29, I offer what I can as evidence of how it will reduce harm and save lives. If you don’t believe US government sources like the Centers for Disease Control, you can find similar statements from most governments on the planet. These aren’t opinions, they’re facts, of the type that used to be agreed to by everyone except those paid by the tobacco industry.

    But Anonymous’ reply is that all of this evidence is wrong, and that I’m a “fucking retarded dipshit.”

    Who to believe?

    YES ON 29.

  84. tra
    May 28, 2012 at 9:13 am

    “too many Mitch’s riding around wearing their ballcaps in their big trucks…”

    LOL!

    I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess that you’ve never met Mitch.

  85. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 9:15 am

    “I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess that you’ve never met Mitch.”

    Have you? Do I need to? You two should get together and have a google party. You can believe yourselves to have doubled your intelligence overnight!

  86. Mitch
    May 28, 2012 at 9:16 am

    The tobacco industry and its whores have discovered that if they push the argument that saving lives is just “nanny state,” they can convince people to vote against their self-interests.

    But it’s hardly nanny-state to fight back against an out-of-state industry that earns ten thousand million dollars a year, and spends a substantial amount of it promoting its product… a product that when used as intended causes lung cancer and many other preventable diseases.

    If you really feel California’s kids should die early deaths to support plantation owners in North Carolina, you’d have a reason to fight this.

    YES ON 29.

  87. tra
    May 28, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Mitch,

    You’ve expressed the suspicion that this anonymous commenter might be a paid agent of the tobacco industry. I submit that this is highly unlikely — an actual paid tobacco industry propagandist would probably be at least somewhat persuasive. If this anonymous commenter is having any effect at all, it’s probably to increase support for Prop 29.

  88. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Whatever you say mitch, father knows best! Check that box that says “take more money straight from the pockets of the general public”. It’s nanny state, mitch. More laws, more taxes. More laws and taxes fueled and funded by private interests, no less. It’s not about cigarettes, it’s about $1 per pack making another ribbon gang richer than they already are. California has no shortage of soccer moms like mitch. Bunch of dumb morons staring at a computer all day “tax the shit out of the victims!” for your feel goods.

  89. Mitch
    May 28, 2012 at 9:32 am

    tra,

    You may be right on either count or on both.

    I just find it hard to believe anyone who isn’t paid by the tobacco industry could work up the pretend passion that Anonymous brings to the discussion.

    The tobacco industry and its whores have so much money and so much experience in swaying public opinion that it is one of the few groups I could imagine might actually bother to astroturf blogs. Remember, they were forced off television, so they have a huge promotion budget to spend on other forms of propaganda.

    Hey, “google party” at my place, tonight at 7 (early bedtime). Bring your big truck and your ball cap, and we’ll geek out on morbidity and mortality stats!!!

  90. tra
    May 28, 2012 at 9:40 am

    “Have you (met Mitch)?”

    Yes, I have, though it’s been years since we met in person, and even then only a few times. But unless he’s changed his persona massively, your description is laughably off the mark.

    “Do I need to?”

    No, but if you did you’d realize how silly you sound to those who have.

    Having frequented some of the same blogs as Mitch in the past couple of years, I have not found him to be a “nanny state” advocate at all. Often quite the contrary. He often demonstrates a very healthy degree of skepticism toward government overreach. It’s just that on this issue he apparently believes that this Proposition would do more good than harm, and from my point of view he’s made some pretty persuasive arguments. And frankly your counterarguments (if you can even call them that) are not very impressive. When you resort to stuff like “You fucking retarded dipshit” that comes of as just really, really weak. If your purpose is just to vent your spleen, then go for it…I guess. If, on the other hand, you have any interest in persuading others that your position has some merit to it, you might want to take a different approach.

    I haven’t yet made up my mind on Prop 29, because I think there are also some pretty persuasive arguments that weigh on the anti-Prop 29 side. See my comment above:

    https://humboldtherald.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/yes-on-prop-29/#comment-171894

    This might actually be the (very) rare case in which the discussion on a blog may actually help me decide which way to vote.

    P.S. Why the obsession with baseball caps?

  91. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Nobody in my family smokes. My dad quit years ago after starting while in vietnam. I’ve never had so much as a drag off a cigarette. Shared fewer than 10 clove cigarettes when I was younger. I don’t like the way they smell, they don’t seem healthy whatsoever, the tradeoff isn’t worth it.

    I know lots of people who smoke, however, and the last thing they (or anybody who smokes) wants or needs is another righteous asshat like mitch going captain nanny on them. In this case, in the ballot booth to stick a hand right into their pockets and take money.

  92. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 9:49 am

    “If, on the other hand, you have any interest in persuading others that your position has some merit to it, you might want to take a different approach.”

    go fudge yourself, forking dipship. Your mind is made up just the same, and everybody knows you’re a blowhard.

  93. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 9:54 am

    No on 29. There ya go. Two cents from my wallet of time, through the ears of empty heads like mitch. Your welcome for participating in this predictable discussion that always pans out the same.

  94. grackle
    May 28, 2012 at 9:54 am

    I would be all for raising tobacco taxes in the state if it were done in a modestly intelligent manner but I see this initiative as an example of really bad law, a type that seems to be appealing to many voters but is, in the long run damaging to the state. The more taxes that are ear-marked for special causes, the less flexibility the state has to apportion its income where it is needed, a matter that inevitably changes over time.

    I think you need to separate the two things that this bill would do: (1) tax tobacco and (2) create an independent bureaucracy to spend the proceeds. The latter is not based on perceived needs of the state, ignores many pressing problems that exist right now, has no mechanisms for real accountability of its projected $800 million yearly proceeds, further emasculates the legislature by removing yet another portion of its ability to budget state resources in a cogent manner, in short, is either poorly formulated as a piece of law or cynically done, hoping to latch on to the sentimental affections of people’s feelings about tobacco after 30 years of escalating efforts to form those opinions.

    I think one must separate the two things and look at the effects on governing that, even without this particular bill are already hamstrung and often ineffectual. In short, again, this is a bad way to write law and I suspect that the authors are acting just as cynically as the tobacco companies.

  95. grackle
    May 28, 2012 at 9:58 am

    It is also at least plausible, as someone mentions above, that this initiative will have a deleterious effect on Brown’s tax bill coming up in the fall election cycle, i.e. “I just voted for more taxes in June and here they are asking me for more…” Tax weariness

  96. Mitch
    May 28, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Anonymous,

    The point you may be missing is that Prop 29 is not about people who are already addicted — it’s about preventing more kids from becoming addicted.

    Once you’re addicted, you’ve got a problem. The higher the cost of entry to cigarette smoking, the fewer kids will get addicted.

    I wish this approach were not necessary. I’d much prefer simply making it illegal to profit from the production, transport, promotion, or sale of a product which, when used as intended, causes cancer. Then, people could honestly make free choice decisions about whether they wanted to smoke, without being subject to ten thousand million dollars worth of annual propaganda. I’d support the creation of non-profit collectives to allow people to provide for their tobacco needs.

  97. Mitch
    May 28, 2012 at 10:04 am

    grackle,

    The trouble with your argument at 9:54 is that, were the taxes not designated for specific purposes, more persuasive arguments could be made that this was just an attempt to increase taxes and we’d have no control over how the state would spend them.

    So no matter what approach the proponents choose, it will always be possible for lobbyists and advertisers to come up with complaints.

    YES ON 29.

  98. tra
    May 28, 2012 at 10:04 am

    “go fudge yourself”

    Why thank you… I’m thinking fudge brownies with peanut butter chips and macadamia nuts. Mmmmmmm.

    “Your mind is made up just the same”

    If so, I wish it would go ahead and let the rest of me know.

    “everybody knows you’re a blowhard.”

    Sure, I’ll cop to that.

  99. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 10:10 am

    “it’s about preventing more kids from becoming addicted.”

    Bullshit, this is a loud call to take even more money from people who are already addicted, directly by and for people who already rake in hundreds of millions of dollars every year in the exact same manner. The money will not go to education, the money will not go to “research”, the money will make this ribbon gang even richer. Money isn’t the problem, money isn’t the solution. You refuse to get your gears going around these obvious points.

  100. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 10:20 am

    “formulated as a piece of law…hoping to latch on to the sentimental affections of people’s feelings about tobacco after 30 years of escalating efforts to form those opinions.”

    That’s exactly what it is. It’s become a bandwagon. It’s disturbing the degree to which some of our wise elders lose their wisdom along with their hindsight. They get comfortable and forget, is all I can figure. Forget what it was like to be young, forget what it’s like to work full time for minimum wage, forget how the push and pull of society has changed. Nobody wants to be protected by captain nanny, nobody wants another douchebag forcing more weight onto the general public.

    Mitch has no problem-side thought processes going on, the possibilities are not endless with him. Captain Nanny says “take it out on the victims some more as usual.” Nobody will ever see any good come of this, nothing good has come of this exact same thing before. Proper education is needed that doesn’t involve Captain Nanny’s condescending approach. No more symptom side pseudo-solutions that make things even harder for people.

  101. tra
    May 28, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I just posted the following comment to the SoHum Parlance thread on this same topic:

    Mitch,

    If this was a proposition to ban all advertising and promotion of tobacco products, and/or to tax tobacco company profits at a very high rate, I’d be all for it.

    But this one is a little less clear cut, at least to me. It taxes the addict, not the addiction profiteers, and does nothing to reduce tobacco advertising and promotion.

    I’d like to hear your response to my [5:36pm] comment [on the 26th].

    https://humboldtherald.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/yes-on-prop-29/#comment-171894

    This is literally the only thing I have not yet filled out on my mail-in ballot. I am really struggling with this one.

    I recognize that it may help prevent some young people from taking up smoking, which is why I’d like to support it. But I’m afraid that the good it would do in that area may be partially or perhaps even wholly canceled out by the harm it will do by taking money out of poor peoples’ pockets, and by the possibility that if it passes it may decrease the chances of passing desperately needed general fund revenue increases in the fall — which would mean even deeper cuts to education, healthcare, and social services, again harming the general public, and especially the poor. How do you respond to those concerns?

  102. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 10:25 am

    A million times worse than cigarettes as far as long term health and environmental damage is concerned. That is the concern, right?

    http://tinyurl.com/c3me6ch

    100% intended to addict people for life starting before we can even speak complete sentences.

  103. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Big C Cancer, all day every single day forever:

    http://tinyurl.com/d7gbr93
    http://tinyurl.com/bpndzaz
    http://tinyurl.com/dx72lnk
    http://tinyurl.com/bwz39cy
    http://tinyurl.com/clskn59
    http://tinyurl.com/cnt9x76
    http://tinyurl.com/789kr96

    …for mitch and tra’s google party, because they never seem to think about what isn’t right in front of them. They need to think about it while enjoying their poison of choice, before deciding to tax the general public some more.

  104. Anonymous
  105. Mitch
    May 28, 2012 at 11:01 am

    tra,

    I’m sure that a ban on tobacco advertising, especially given the current supreme court, would be interpreted as infringement on free speech.

    Society really needs a way to categorize some things as legal to do, but sufficiently hazardous that it should be illegal to profit from promoting them. Our capitalist system just doesn’t seem to have that. I’d be all for it.

    Since we are stuck with the way things are, Prop 29 is one of the few ways to reduce the number of kids that get addicted to tobacco.

    The ballot pamphlet argument for 29, by the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, and the American Heart Association, says public health experts estimate 29 will prevent 228,000 kids from getting addicted, and will save 104,000 people from dying from cancer, emphysema, and heart disease.

    Since tobacco is addictive, many people who would like to quit will fail and end up paying more for cigarettes. At least in this case, a larger portion of what they spend on cigarettes will go directly towards research efforts to try to save their lives. Nobody likes any tax, but at least this one has a reasonably direct connection between those who engage in an activity and the purpose for which the collections will be used.

    Anonymous,

    Yes, Big Macs are bad for people. The difference is, they are not physically addictive. Talk to any group of smokers older than 30 or so — about 2/3 of smokers want to quit. Half the people who try to quit fail.

    That’s not because they lack willpower — it’s because nicotine changes the brain’s chemistry, and withdrawal from nicotine once that happens causes the same type of “cold turkey” effects as withdrawal from other drugs.

    Do some research on nicotine — it’s one of the most addictive substances on the planet. You are fortunate that you didn’t get hooked; about 10% of the population is resistant to the addiction so there will always be anecdotal cases of people who find quitting no problem. Those cases will always be exploited by the lobbyists, but nicotine addiction is very real.

    http://whyquit.com/whyquit/linksaaddiction.html

  106. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 11:03 am

    “But I’m afraid that the good it would do in that area may be partially or perhaps even wholly canceled out by the harm it will do by taking money out of poor peoples’ pockets, and by the possibility that if it passes it may decrease the chances of passing desperately needed general fund revenue increases in the fall — which would mean even deeper cuts to education, healthcare, and social services, again harming the general public, and especially the poor. How do you respond to those concerns?”

    Well said. Pack of smokes goes up a buck. Pack of smokes or a candy bar? Pack of smokes or the organic bread? Get the cheap processed bread and a pack of smokes, of course! No milk on this trip to the grocery store, maybe next time, the price of cigarettes just went up a buck. No newspaper on this trip to the store, price of a pack of cigarettes went up a buck, gotta budget! This exact tax has done nothing but put a bigger crunch on people who need it least of all.

  107. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 11:08 am

    “Yes, Big Macs are bad for people. The difference is, they are not physically addictive. Talk to any group of smokers older than 30 or so — about 2/3 of smokers want to quit.”

    Big Macs are physically addictive, and if a child is introduced to that diet while growing up, they’re being set up for a lifetime of health problems. Ask anybody who eats fast food everyday who’s older than 30 or so if they’d like to be in better health, and if they know they could be in better health if they stopped eating fast food.

    Do smokers older than 30 or so want you to take another dollar from them every time they buy a pack? Start asking them and be amazed at how ass-backwards your nanny tax is.

  108. Mitch
    May 28, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Anonymous,

    Big Macs are not physically addictive. Nicotine is. It’s not opinion, it’s neuroscience. Scoff if you like, but try not to mislead people.

  109. tra
    May 28, 2012 at 11:12 am

    “I’m sure that a ban on tobacco advertising, especially given the current supreme court, would be interpreted as infringement on free speech.”

    Why, then, has the ban on tobacco advertising on TV not been overturned?

  110. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 11:13 am

    “Those cases will always be exploited by the lobbyists, but nicotine addiction is very real.”

    No shit, so don’t take it out on the victims even more dumbass.

  111. Mitch
    May 28, 2012 at 11:16 am

    tra,

    Shhhh.

  112. Mitch
    May 28, 2012 at 11:20 am

    tra,

    In longer reply, I really don’t know. My suspicion is that the tobacco industry discovered that $1 of advertising works as well off of TV as on TV, it just takes Big Tobacco’s ad agencies a bit more work to spend the huge sums involved.

    They may even have discovered that their ad budget is used more efficiently now that it is off of TV.

    I don’t really think the ban on TV advertising of tobacco products would survive a challenge to this supreme court… hasn’t it already ruled that the right to lie is a part of the first amendment?

  113. Mitch
    May 28, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Anonymous,

    I guess I’m fed up with being called a dumbass and worse. Congratulations, you win.

  114. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 11:23 am

    mitch, do you think about what you write? You only have to be alive on the planet ye so long before coming to realize certain “facts” about addiction. As much as yu claim to understand, I promise I know and have known far more addicts of every kind than you. You’re a blowhard of your own right…go google some official something or other if you need some guy in a lab coat to tell you your shit stinks before believing it yourself.

    http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-04-02/news/31276928_1_high-fructose-corn-syrup-sugar-consumption-table-sugar

  115. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 11:24 am

    “Congratulations, you win.”

    win?there are plenty of points you haven’t addressed…if you can’t take the heat…

  116. tra
    May 28, 2012 at 11:29 am

    “The ballot pamphlet argument for 29, by the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, and the American Heart Association, says public health experts estimate 29 will prevent 228,000 kids from getting addicted, and will save 104,000 people from dying from cancer, emphysema, and heart disease.”

    Yes, and that’s why I’d like to support it. What isn’t included in that analysis (and would admittedly be pretty hard to quantify) is: How many poor kids will be harmed by taking more money from their addicted parents’ already threadbare pockets, and how many poor kids (and other poor and moderate-income people) will be harmed if the passage of this tax increase helps contribute to the defeat of the general-fund-supporting tax measures that will be on the ballot in the fall, leading to further deep cuts to education, health care, social services, etc.?

    I have not yet heard a persuasive counterargument to these concerns. I want to be able to support this measure as a way to help improve the lives of the younger generations, but I’m not yet convinced that the deleterious side-effects — regressive taxation and possibly a backlash against even-more-urgent general fund revenue increases in the fall — may not outweigh the intended beneficial effects. If the road to hell is sometimes paved with good intentions, the oil making up that asphalt is composed of unintended consequences.

  117. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 11:37 am

    “The ballot pamphlet argument for 29, by the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, and the American Heart Association, says…”

    The organizations who authored the law and who will collect all the money say what now? What is it their researchers say again? Is that over the course of infinity? When will they tell us people have started to die again, right before they want shove yet another new tax down everybody’s throat? Can we maybe add a few more cents to this tax this time, so as to round the numbers up to an even 105k and 230k? Their science is so exact, they should be able to calculate and get the bandwagon behind them. Do you see how ridiculous it all is?

  118. Mitch
    May 28, 2012 at 11:37 am

    “How many poor kids will be harmed by taking more money from their addicted parents’ already threadbare pockets,”

    If a parent isn’t willing to cap what they spend on cigarettes so that they can continue to provide for their kids, their kids are in trouble no matter what.

  119. tra
    May 28, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Mitch,

    I believe the tobacco industry has tried, in the past, to challenge the TV advertising ban in court, and has failed. You may be right that today’s Supreme Court would rule differently, but I think if the tobacco industry thought they had any real chance of success in overturning the ban, they’d be taking it.

    And I doubt that the tobacco industry believes that TV advertising would be ineffective or inefficient. I know a little bit about advertising and mass media effects, and I assure you that there is a good reason why most large consumer industries choose to advertise on TV — it works. This is especially true with products, like tobacco, where there is little real difference between the competitors’ products and gaining and holding customers for their particular product relies mainly on creating an “image” for their brand.

    I think you are dismissing, too easily, the idea of trying to ban all tobacco advertising and promotion. An effort to do so would not only more squarely address your concerns about the industry’s ability to propagandize and encourage the development of the next generation of addicts, it would also (I suspect) draw far less opposition from smokers themselves. While smokers may resent having to cough up (no pun intended) more taxes when they buy the product they’re addicted to, I doubt too many of them would get all bent out of shape over a ban on advertising.

    Of course, we could potentially do both (increase taxes on cigarettes and also ban all tobacco advertising), I’m just saying that I could easily get behind a ban on tobacco advertising, because it doesn’t have the problem of regressivity, the problem of taxing the victims, or the problem of possibly harming efforts to raise much-needed revenues for the general fund.

  120. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 11:43 am

    “If a parent isn’t willing to cap what they spend on cigarettes ”

    You’re screaming about it being a hopeless addiction, remember? They have no choice, and you have a choice as to whether or not to place that much more of a burden on them.

  121. Mitch
    May 28, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Anonymous 11:23,

    Is your point that our religiously unquestioning support of capitalism has ruined things as fundamental as our food supply? I agree.

    I don’t see what that has to do with the importance of reducing the number of kids who get addicted to nicotine.

  122. Mitch
    May 28, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Anonymous,

    Yes, they will always suffer from cravings, but they can space out their cigarettes by another ten minutes, to keep their children fed. If they cannot, then we are all doomed.

  123. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 11:52 am

    “I doubt too many of them would get all bent out of shape over a ban on advertising.”

    Too much thinking for mitch, there’s nothing spelling it out right in front of his face, just a check box asking if he’s okay with sticking it straight to the victims some more. And mitch is gung ho about sticking it straight to the victims some more. He even says that if a hopelessly addicted person can’t shake their hopeless addiction, their children are in trouble. They’d rather buy cigarettes than healthy food…for their kids or anybody. He also claims to know they will buy cigarettes anyway because that’s the whole nature of his very hate toward the “product”. A person’s mental wellbeing is critical to their health, addiction or not.

  124. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 11:56 am

    “I don’t see what that has to do with the importance of reducing the number of kids who get addicted to nicotine.”

    It’s not reducing hte number of kids who get addicted to nicotine. Not at all. You don’t and won’t get it, too much thinking for you. It’s way easy to just say “tax the shit out of em, no mercy”…symptom side government. Fight the victims, keep their symptoms out of sight. Good job, gawblessamerica captain protect-us-from-ourselves.

  125. tra
    May 28, 2012 at 11:56 am

    “If a parent isn’t willing to cap what they spend on cigarettes so that they can continue to provide for their kids, their kids are in trouble no matter what.”

    Sorry, I don’t find that a very helpful answer, because we know that due to the extremely addictive nature of tobacco, many parents won’t succeed in capping what they spend on cigarettes.

    Yes, some of those kids are already “in trouble,” because their parents are already poor and because their parents smoke, and in some cases because their parents aren’t prioritizing the need to provide for their kids over the difficulty of quitting such an addictive substance. The concern is that with this tax increase on their parents, even more kids will be in even more trouble that way. Basically your answer comes off a little bit like — oh well, those kids are screwed anyway, so there’s no point to worrying about them getting screwed even more. On the contrary, those are exactly the kids I think we need to be most concerned about.

    Perhaps a better counter-argument would be that kids of smokers are more likely to become smokers themselves, and if this measure can prevent some of them from following in their parents’ footsteps, that will help them (and their kids and grandkids and so on) more than it will hurt them, at least on average. But I find it pretty hard to make those kinds of cost-benefit analyses when only the benefits, but not the costs, are quantified.

  126. Mitch
    May 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Add second-hand smoke to your counter-argument, tra.

    And I do believe that a sane parent’s love for their children will override that sane parent’s desire to spend more on cigarettes. Maybe not 100% of the time, but enough that the proposition will, on balance, be worthwhile.

  127. tra
    May 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    “It’s not reducing hte number of kids who get addicted to nicotine.”

    Well, it’s my understanding that there’s some pretty well-documented research showing that when cigarette prices are increased substantially, significantly fewer young people take up the habit in the first place.

    Other than just refusing to believe that this evidence exists, do you have any specific criticism of the way the research that led to that evidence was conducted?

  128. tra
    May 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    “…the proposition will, on balance, be worthwhile.”

    Well, that’s what I’m trying to determine. But I’m not quite there yet.

    Any answer to the concern about the effect this proposition may have on the general-fund-revenue-increasing measures that will be on the fall ballot? Above, you answered “grackle” by just saying that if the money from this proposition went to the general fund, this would be used as an argument against it — which I’m sure is true, but doesn’t really address the concern.

    I guess what I’m saying is if I had my ‘druthers we’d take care of our disasterous general fund situation first — not through a regressive tobacco tax or other regressive sales taxes, but through progressive income taxation and/or property tax (as well as major reduction in the prison-industrial complex), so that we can stop at least some of the bleeding in education, health care and social services. Then, if there’s still enough public support for additional taxes, go ahead an consider this tax.

    But, I realize this is already on the ballot and so perhaps a good deal of the damage is already done, in terms of whatever resentment it may be causing? Or perhaps a good deal of the backlash will only happen if people actually have to start shelling out the money at the cash register?…I don’t know…

  129. Mitch
    May 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    tra,

    I simply have no idea whether Prop 29 would have any impact on the November revenue measure(s).

    Personally, I view 29 as a public health measure, so I don’t make a big connection between it and November. Others probably see things differently.

    My feeling about politics these days is that the PR professionals on both sides will use whatever ammunition is available and make up what isn’t. The particular ammunition they find or make up won’t matter nearly as much as how well-funded they are.

  130. tra
    May 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Another way to put this is that increasing taxes on cigarettes sometimes seems like an example of the old “…but, boss, it was easier to dig over here” problem:

    A farmer hires a helper to dig a well, and shows him where the best place to hit water is. The farmer comes back later, only to find that the helper has finished early, with a nice deep, but totally dry well in a different spot. The farmer expresses his dismay, to which the hired helper responds: “But, boss, it was so much easier to dig over here.”

    In this case, it may be easier to convince a majority to raise taxes on “other people” (in this case smokers) than it is to raise taxes across the board, or even to raise taxes on the wealthy because of their ability to fight back. And it may be easier to raise taxes on the addicts than it is to raise taxes on the addiction profiteers or to ban advertising and promotion by the addiction profiteers (though I’m not sure that’s actually the case).

    I guess you could say that in this case at least the “easier” well is not entirely dry, since even though the measure doesn’t help the general fund revenue situation (and might even make it worse, at least in the short term) there are likely to be some substantial benefits (in the area of preventing some young people to take up smoking) to weigh against the costs. It’s just not 100% clear to me which side of the equation outweighs the other.

  131. Mitch
    May 28, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    tra,

    I think someone pointed out above that cigarette taxes in New York State are in the vicinity of $4.35 a pack.

    http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0097.pdf

  132. Mitch
    May 28, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    tra,

    New York State charges $4.35 per pack. New York City adds tax on top of that.

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention estimates that smoking-caused health costs total $10.47 per pack sold and consumed in the U.S.

    http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0097.pdf

  133. tra
    May 28, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    “My feeling about politics these days is that the PR professionals on both sides will use whatever ammunition is available and make up what isn’t. The particular ammunition they find or make up won’t matter nearly as much as how well-funded they are.”

    While there is certainly some truth to that, I think it’s also true that the effect of this propagandizing is significantly affected by whether the messages offered resonate with the audience’s actual experience. If the fall revenue measures fail by a close margin, and exit polls reveal that a decisive number of people voted against these measures because the cigarette tax was just increased, we may come to regret the timing of this measure.

    And make no mistake about it, if education, health care, and social services continue to get gutted — even more so than they have been already — there will be very real, very negative public health consequences (and other negative societal consequences) for many millions of Californians, including millions of children.

    Maybe this proposition won’t have any decisive effect on peoples’ votes on the fall revenue measures — maybe they’ll pass or fail by a large margin and/or maybe the cigarette tax increase won’t weigh heavily in voters’ decision-making (or at least won’t weigh heavily with very many of them). But it wouldn’t surprise me if it did, in fact, have a significant impact.

    It’s all well and good to say “this is a public health measure, not a revenue measure,” but given that the mechanism for the attempted public health improvement IS a tax — and a tax that even proponents must admit is a very regressive tax — this argument is not likely to be very convincing to those who are actually paying the tax.

    It would be nice if we could consider each tax increase entirely separately, and could be confident that the approval of one tax increase would not have any effect on the way people view subsequent tax increases…but unfortunately we all know that’s not always how it works.

  134. Not A Native
    May 28, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    After reading all the comments here I’ll vote against 29. Gracle makes most sense to me.

    Mitch seems too willing to inflict pain for a good cause when less painful methods are possible. He also totally ignores that many smokers enjoy their habit even though they know its bad for their health. It gives them pleasure or comfort not so different from those dependent on pot.

  135. Eric Kirk
    May 28, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    BITS misspoke himself. This from the ACS website:

    ” As the largest non-governmental funder of cancer research, having spent more than $3.6 billion on cancer research since 1946, we’ve played a role in nearly every cancer breakthrough in recent history.
    Our own research and that of our funded researchers helped to confirm the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer, established the link between obesity and multiple cancers, developed drugs to treat leukemia and advanced breast cancer, and showed that mammography is the most effective way to detect breast cancer.
    We fund beginning researchers with cutting-edge ideas early in their careers – 46 of whom have gone on to win the Nobel Prize, the highest accolade in scientific achievement. ”

    Not all Nobel Prizes are Peace ones.

    I was tongue in cheek when I suggested otherwise. They also have prizes in several categories of science, and of course literature.

    The point being that despite the downside brought up in this thread and another, ACS and the other groups do some good work. It’s not the issue, and I don’t care if some of the money is spent on non-tobacco related projects. In fact, I would be happy if it was entirely devoted to education, since children are in fact the primary target of tobacco company marketing.

    According to CDC, 68 percent of smokers begin as children, and 85 percent begin at 21 or under. That’s based on their commissioned studies, but I’ve read about studies which indicate that almost nobody, something under 5 percent of those who end up with regular habits begin smoking as adults.

    CDC also reports that every day 3,900 children under 18 years of age try their first cigarette, and more than 950 of them will become habitual smokers, and over 400 of those kids will eventually be killed by the habit.

    When you start that early you’re also much more likely to become addicted.

    It’s kind of an insane situation when you really think about it. We sort of take it for granted, and we get angry at the thought of an illegal drug dealer waiting just off school grounds waiting to prey on kids’ curiosity and vulnerability. But if kids did not smoke, tobacco companies would be completely out of business within a generation, if that. It is a subsidized industry which thrives on poisoning kids – not doubt about it.

    And I don’t know what to do about it. Fred suggests that if it’s not my kids it’s really not my business. The argument is that the tax will save a few lives even if it puts financial burdens on the rest of the addicted, and the evidence to support the argument is compelling. I’m not indifferent to the financial burden, in fact I wish there was a more direct way to take it out of the hides of the pushers. But ultimately only consumers (who become non-consumers) can do that. This proposition provides an incentive to do just that.

    For those who believe that the tobacco companies will be able to pass the entire tax onto the consumer, I would ask then why those companies are spending so much to kill the measure. Out of the goodness of their hearts and concern for their addicted consumers?

  136. tra
    May 28, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Eric,

    I don’t see why they would be unable to pass the tax along to consumers, in fact I’m pretty confident that they will. I think the reason why the tobacco companies are pushing so hard to kill the measure is not that it will cost them a lot of money in the short term (I doubt it will) it’s that they believe (probably correctly) that it WILL prevent at least some kids from taking up the smoking habit, therefore costing them new long-term customers (addicts) in the long term.

  137. Eric Kirk
    May 28, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    TRA – Assuming the data the proponents cite is accurate, consumption declines with increases in prices whether due to taxes or other market forces. The argument back in the 1980s was that the demand curve for cigarettes was inelastic due to the addictive nature of the drug. The more recent data suggests otherwise, perhaps either due to more studies or perhaps more effective anti-addiction treatments. Either way, since we’ve increased taxes in California, consumption at all age groups has dropped. The estimate I read in one of the prior tax campaigns was that the companies initially raised their prices for the first 25 cent tax, but had to lower them to entice consumption, such that once the market had sorted it out the actual price increase was something like 18 cents. That meant that for every pack, the companies themselves were having to eat 7 cents. And I’m not sure that includes the loss of profit due to the decline of consumption at even the 18 cent increase.

    They do get hit with each tax increase, make no mistake. But unfortunately, there’s also collateral damage.

  138. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    The heads of the tobacco companies don’t care one way or another who smokes what. The federal government controls the “drug trade” to begin with. They’ll always have an army of some sort of addict, kept indentured to their mandatory goods and/or services if nothing else. They are very wealthy, and will always be very wealthy. Cigarettes aren’t the only loaded dice they roll. Maybe some desk monkey in a PR office has to pretend to care about whether or not this tax happens.

  139. Eric Kirk
    May 28, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Well, then that “desk monkey” has a ridiculously high budget under his or her control!

  140. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    I support the complete decriminalization of all “drugs”, should it make a difference in your opinion of what I’ve written. An educated society wouldn’t drink as much solvent as ours does today, but that’s more of a statement about our educational society than everybody’s natural desire to have a good time…and to each his own thereafter. Let’s focus on any of the chemicals we’re all injesting involuntarilly, and how to get rid of their influence asap. Let’s do this before taxing people who might want to have a smoke when they see tomorrow’s gas prices. Carbon monoxide…rivers of carbon monoxide in california every day. If you combined the surface area that would be covered by the exhaust pipes of every carbon monoxide spewing engine on the planet, there would exist a smokestack the size of rhode island pumping out smog 24/7/365. If you added the surface area that would be covered by every industrialized pipe excreting wastewater into either the ground or a water source, there would exist a faucet as big as a small sea pouring a radioactive river bacl into the environment…sucking it up and spitting it back out over and over again, adding more toxic crud every time.

    The fact of radioactive waste’s permanence alone is mind boggling, to think people forget such a thing exists when they vocally blame a random smoking pedestrian for “polluting everybody’s air” or some crap. Or feeling the need to remind the smoker that they make themselves okay to be insulted and taxed, before dying prematurely. Meanwhile everybody’s driving around in a gasoline burner and interacting with a battery of electrogadgets all day.

    …my bottom line is…

    Take that tax and shove it, people don’t need any captain do-good bullshit over cigarettes right now, especially if it means losing another small chunk of money every month, right across the board. The gasoline price skyrocket is already adding too much mandatory pressure on everybody’s immediate budget. Prop 29 is “sin tax” going too far. This same tax has been authored and implemented several times by the same organizations. They already have been taking hundreds of millions of dollars from the general public of cigarette smokers every year for decades. Results? “Cancer” is still as uncurable and random as ever. Everybody’s getting more cancer than ever. Everybody knows why we’re getting more cancer than ever; it’s because everyday, our environment is always a little more polluted than yesterday, and it’s been going on since before any of us were born. The machine is out of control, don’t blame the victims, smoke em if you got em.

  141. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    The open eye fact is fewer kids are smoking cigarettes these days and it has everything to do with proper education…word gets around well enough after a long enough while. The price of cigarettes has gone through the roof, but for whatever reason “adult” smokers still buy them. What we can see: education stops the cycle, price doesn’t break the habit. “Cancer Research Institutes” should not want to mandate their solicitations onto “the very people they’re fighting for”. It’s like forcing smokers to work more for nothing other than to be further degraded. It’s also an easy bandwagon to jump on before you really know where it’s going, as readers above demonstrate.

  142. Non Smoker
    May 28, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    These so called “sin tax” laws are usually made by people who dont have a clue how addictions work. In their eyes smokers or drinkers are “bad people” and should be punished. Because most of the self righteous sheeple support these judgements, the state is able to exploit the sentiment to raise taxes or increase income in some way.
    Real change comes from education.
    Instead of being hell bent on finding new ways to penalize people with “bad” habits, we should try to understand the problem and deal with it.
    For every new law or tax that is proposed, ask the question “who benefits from this” and you will find the truth.

  143. Mitch
    May 28, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    The best argument for Prop 29, in my opinion, is that it saves lives.

    But maybe the argument people are more ready to hear is that it reduces California’s Medi-Cal costs. By some estimates, every pack of cigarettes sold adds between $10 and $11 to health care costs. Reduce the number of cigarette addicts and you save the state’s taxpayers a bundle.

    YES ON 29.

  144. Mitch
    May 28, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    For anyone who thinks everything is causing cancer and smoking is being singled out here’s one image you really should look at:

    It’s from the Surgeon General’s report on smoking and women. Women began smoking in the 20s and 30s; the result is the rise in lung cancer rates in women. Compare the sharply rising line for lung cancer with the mostly stable line for breast cancer.

    It’s vanishingly rare for the evidence of a correlation between a behavior and a health consequence to be as clear as a chart like this.

  145. tra
    May 28, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Well I’m not seeing any really new or different arguments here, mostly repetition of the same arguments already made…and I was starting to do that too… so maybe we’ve taken this discussion about as far as it can go, at least for now.

    I guess I’ll check back again tomorrow in case anyone has something new to offer.

    At this point I’m still undecided…I guess I’ll sleep on it.

  146. jr
    May 28, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Grackle noted that if Prop 29 passes a new department will be created to manage the funds. That alone is one reason to vote against it. Why can’t the department that manages Prop 99 funds handle Prop 29?

  147. May 29, 2012 at 5:59 am

    I had just hiked in from our campsite. Five miles back around Lake Shasta at “Digger Bay.” I was 12yrs old. My mother smoked two packs of Chesterfield Cigarettes a day, so I had been around cigarettes all my life. They smoked in the grocery check out line, the DMV, the county offices. There were ashtrays full of butts all over the place. But until I hiked into Digger Bay, I had not smoked a cigarette. Some old “Fagan” lady gave me a lucky strike, and said “Here kid, take a couple of puffs on this it’ll warm you up.” I should have noticed the gravel in her voice, or the dull gold-color of her teeth and nails, but I smoked it anyway. My first cigarette. I became hooked on cigarettes for the next 24 years. I finally was able to quit when my wife became pregnant with our first child. I was 34 yrs old. I sat through the health care worker doing the math on my survivability chances. I still don’t know that I’ll escape my tobacco use unharmed. I’ve almost had as many days nonsmoking as smoking. So I have a chance.
    Someone Pooh-Poohed the concept of tobacco being “Worse than” Heroin, but in real-life terms of quitting them, Tobacco can be considered worse because of its legality. At least with Heroin it’s not available at the local market. At least with Heroin you can cut all ties with the dealers, but with cigarettes, it’s not so easy.
    Anyway, I vote “No”. I don’t think we should attack the problem by attacking the addict. Go after the companies that make a profit off the death of its clients.

  148. walt
    May 29, 2012 at 6:36 am

    Maybe it’s a personal thing for each of us. When my mom got COPD and was in St Joe’s struggling for breath, I quit (and if I can quit anyone can). Later when she died slowly of lung cancer at 73, and I had to do the caretaking, it made a powerful impression. Since then I think of the tobacco companies as murderering profiteers, and since they own Congress, raising taxes on their poison is the only thing we can do. So I’m with Mitch. . .YES ON 29.

  149. Anonymous
    May 29, 2012 at 9:47 am

    I have nothing further to add. I wonder if mitch really knows what a bandwagon is, and that he’s a gung ho jumper. Taking kitchen utensils away from everybody will save lives, making everybody wear diapers will save lives too. I’m prone to jump on an environmental bandwagon, but I’ll never lose my senses enough to place political judgement against the everyday person who sprays toxic death like Roundup all over their yard. I’ll jump on a zero-population-growth bandwagon, but only to increase insentives for people who don’t have kids…never to punish people for actually having children. I’ll jump on an animal rights bandwagon, but not in any way that would make it more difficult for pet owners to finance their creature’s comforts.

    There are lines of common sense that one can draw very easily in politics. If and when you ever catch yourself thinking it’s a good thing to stick it to the end of the line, you lose in life. Follow the money on this one, it stops right at the people who are sticking it to the very people they say they’re fighting for. They say the price of cigarettes has quelled smoking, when in fact simple proper education has done all the work. “Cancer Research Institutes” are multibillion dollar enterprises that already have all kinds of international ties to big pharma. They’re using people as human chemo-guinea pigs all over the world, it’s sick.

  150. Anonymous
    May 29, 2012 at 10:10 am

    “By some estimates, every pack of cigarettes sold adds between $10 and $11 to health care costs. Reduce the number of cigarette addicts and you save the state’s taxpayers a bundle.”

    Bullshit. Bigtime bullshit, and it shows your ignorance of what’s happening and who’s getting the shaft. First off, this is admittedy going to cost taxpayers almost a billion dollars per year in this one state alone. The authors of this tax law are proudly saying “they ARE going to keep buying cigarettes, and they ARE going to have to give US almost a billion more dollars every year”. For all the hundreds of billions of dollars they already get every year, their results are still zip. Cancer is still as widespread and random and uncurable as ever, treatments are still very experimental and often controversially considered fatal (chemotherapy kills…but it’s trillions of dollars of medicine “research”). It goes on and on….

    And does mitch know what conjecture is? I could conject unto mitch all day, he’s riding the bandwagon to the end. He’ll use whatever conjecture he “googles” to justify his ride.

  151. Mitch
    May 29, 2012 at 10:29 am

    OK, Anonymous. You say it’s bullshit. These people say it’s not:

    http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0072.pdf

    Did you by any chance look at the graph comparing rates of breast cancer and lung cancer in women over time? How do you explain that?

  152. Eric Kirk
    May 29, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I have to agree with Anonymous 10:10 re any estimates of $10 to $11 of health care costs per pack, and I can’t imagine what that would be based upon.

    I googled up the number of packs of cigarettes sold in California, which in 2009 was 972 million. So did the state spend 10 billion that year on smoking related diseases?

    Here’s the article.

    http://www.californiahealthline.org/articles/2010/7/28/states-tobacco-tax-revenue-drops-as-cigarette-sales-fall.aspx

    Apparently we’ve dropped 2/3 in cigarette purchases since 1985 when total packs purchased were 2.8 billion. Smokers themselves have declined 50 percent, which means that even those who continue to smoke are smoking fewer cigarettes. And since the population of California has expanded greatly (from 35 million in 1985 to 38 million today), the stats are probably very dramatic in terms of percentages. The first tax was passed in or around 1990, as well as other policies such as bans from certain areas and an aggressive education campaign, so clearly the “nanny state” is showing some effectiveness here.

    By the way, while looking for population numbers, I came across a chart which compares population growth to infrastructure spending declines in real dollars. Pretty scary actually.

    http://cpr.ca.gov/cpr_report/Issues_and_Recommendations/Chapter_4_Infrastructure/INF18.html

  153. Mitch
    May 29, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Here’s the fact sheet, Eric:

    http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0072.pdf

    It includes both public and private health care costs and lost productivity, and calls the figure of $10.47 a low estimate. I neglected to mention the inclusion of lost productivity.

  154. Anonymous
    May 29, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    mitch, according to that crayola book of bullshit, since the time it was released and today, the population of the united states should be double what it is now, and 90% of it teenage smokers.

    I really have to ask you with the same sincerity you seem to believe of me…are you for real? Are you trolling responses like mine for readership on this blog? Or are you really that dense? I am condesccending because it is that obvious, either you’re fishing or your dense. I wouldn’t use the word dense the same as the word airheaded. You’ve got quite a wall up. You wonder how it is that somebody “like me” could be so “passionate” about what I’m writing, but you are the one passionate about sucking a billion dollars right out of the general public’s pocket every year. “Only cigarette smokers”…yeah right, think about that too, for awhile. I’m passionate about the environment, I don’t think gasoline should cost any more than it already does.

    Please, mitch…prove to your readers something resembling intelligence by applying simple logic to refute some of the “facts” in the crayola book of bullshit you just handed us.

  155. Asshole
    May 29, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    My God! Big Pharma may make some money so let the smoker dumb shits die. We should give them tobacco for free so they are not denied. What is wrong with us? Actually WTF is wrong with you. Jeez, tax something nasty is bad? The poor may suffer? And just how? Fucking idiots.

  156. Anonymous
    May 29, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    “My God! Big Pharma may make some money so let the smoker dumb shits die. We should give them tobacco for free so they are not denied. What is wrong with us? Actually WTF is wrong with you.”

    Actually, what the fuck is wrong with you?

  157. Mitch
    May 30, 2012 at 7:46 am

    If nothing else, the anti-Prop 29 campaign is an ideal demonstration of the failure of our political system.

    It demonstrates that $40 million can bring the support for a proposition down from 67% pre-propaganda to 53% after two months of money application.

    With evidence like that, it’s hard to understand how anyone can still think our elections represent people’s free will — they only represent what money, lobbyists, and advertisers can accomplish. It might be more honest these days to just cancel the elections and use the money that would have been spent on propaganda for something more productive.

    Still, in my opinion, it’s better to vote than not. YES ON 29.

  158. Anonymous
    May 30, 2012 at 9:30 am

    sure mitch, common sense has nothing to do with everything everybody against this new BILLION DOLLAR TAX is saying, smokers or not.

    take yourself, for example. You can’t even stand by your own “facts”. You are on an anti-cigarette bandwagon, an easy mark at that. you’ve created your own catch 22.

  159. Marlboro Girl
    May 30, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    For the information of those posters who blame Capitalism for tobacco use: I live in a Communist country. Tobacco advertising is prohibited. Cigarettes cost the equivalent of .75 cents to one dollar per pack. The average worker earns about four dollars a day. Still, 69% of the adult males smoke like chimneys, and they smoke anywhere they damn well please. They smoke in restaurants, in bars, at the office, in the park, at the movies, in public buildings, everywhere. I see hundreds of very old people smoking happily away every day. I don’t know how much of the cost per pack represents taxes, but I know that non-taxed cigarette smuggling is a major industry here. People the world over like to smoke. They will continue to smoke. What’s Capitalism got to do with it? Mao smoked three packs a day of unfiltered Camels. Do you think he was a victim of Madison Avenue? You lefties should try living in a Communist utopia some time. It may make you vote Republican.

    “Tobacco is my favorite vegetable.” Frank Zappa

  160. Eric Kirk
    May 30, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    A small quibble – Frank Zappa would never have voted Republican.

    I think the .75 to 1 dollar per pack probably has something to do with the smoking in your country, which at this point can only be Cuba, Cambodia, Vietnam, or North Korea. Unless you count China, but these days China is more capitalist than we are.

  161. Marlboro Girl
    May 31, 2012 at 1:22 am

    If you earn four dollars a day, one dollar is a hell of a lot of money. It hasn’t deterred the smokers here. This country discourages smoking with anti-smoking propaganda paid for by the U.N., and they are talking about raising the tax on tobacco and prohibiting smoking in public offices. But in spite of the enormous control over people’s lives that the State possesses, people are still smoking like crazy. I think there would be an uprising if the State cracked down too hard on smokers. Drug smugglers and dealers, even of marijuana, are executed in this country, but people are still smoking pot and using heroin. Go figure.

    I don’t live in China, but I do temporarily live in one of the countries Eric listed. When I arrived here I said exactly what he said about China: “This place is more Capitalist than the U.S.” However, the truth is that, like China, this country has a centrally planned economy where the State owns, or has a controlling interest in all major industry. People live and work where the State dictates. Industry plunders and pollutes at will with little or no recourse available to the people for damages to their health or well-being. Environmental and safety laws exist, but are ignored. The State does not enforce laws against itself. The State decides which industry to support and which to suppress. All property belongs to the State. There are no private property rights. This is not Capitalism. It may be more accurate to say that the U.S. is becoming more like China.

    I am not trying to be coy by not naming the country I am in. There are strict laws against criticising the government here.

    Before I lived here, I never thought I would vote Republican either. Maybe I’m evolving.

  162. Mitch
    May 31, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Marlboro Girl,

    If all the people who would ultimately die from smoking-related diseases turned bright blue and disintegrated upon smoking their first cigarette, I think we can all agree that tobacco control would be a top priority of all governments worldwide.

    Big Tobacco has long seen the writing on the wall. While they have fought US health measures tooth and nail, they’ve also increased their presence worldwide. Marketing involves a lot more than what you might think of advertising: it involves giveaways, bribes, sponsorships, and so on. It also involves working to prevent countries from taking measures to reduce smoking. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to discover that there were economic links between a “communist” country’s tobacco production and US/UK Big Tobacco.

    It’s fine that your eyes are being opened about the failures of communist societies in the real world. Now perhaps you can recognize that when it’s the people running the state that are able to extract money from a product, those people turn out to act with similar motivations to the scum in charge of Big Tobacco.

    The problem, as always, is that the interests of the people in control are not aligned with the interests of most people. Combine that with a product that gives immediate stress relief and a death sentence that only becomes truly clear decades later, and you have a recipe for a public health disaster.

  163. Anonymous
    May 31, 2012 at 8:01 am

    MG may not realize it, but she’s made a perfect case for tobacco being an extremely addictive drug whose users deprive themselves of not only their health but the economic well being of their families. No one but an addict would spend 25% of their already inadequate income on drugs. This drug costs society more in health care, disability and death than all others, even the completely illegal ones. Of course, I don’t think for a second that MG is really living in a communist country or that, if she was, she would be writing on blogs about tobacco taxes in California. I’m betting she’s working in a boiler room for the tobacco industry, spreading their lies for minimum wage.

  164. Anonymous
    May 31, 2012 at 8:05 am

    And…if she WAS writing from a communist country, she wouldn’t need to name the country for them to know she is writing critical comments. DUH!

  165. Mitch
    May 31, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Sane Anonymous at 8:01 and 8:05,

    Thanks for your points. As you say, what could be better proof of the addictiveness of tobacco than people sacrificing 25% of their subsistence incomes to smoke?

    It’s actually conceivable that MG is writing from a communist country — they wouldn’t care about critical comments that didn’t name the country.

    I wouldn’t be shocked to discover she was writing from a Big Tobacco boiler room, but I do think it’s possible she’s telling the truth.

  166. Mitch
    May 31, 2012 at 8:12 am

    (He or she could well be a Humboldt resident checking for news of home, which would explain his or her presence here.)

  167. Anonymous
    May 31, 2012 at 8:22 am

    mitch, nobody’s argued against the facts of how truely evil the cigarette companies are, or how deadly their highly addictive drugs are. You gotta wrap your head around that. You’ve left one of my comments blocked, care to unblock and reply?

  168. Bolithio
    May 31, 2012 at 8:30 am

    a product that gives immediate stress relief

    Actually, it turns out that’s not true. Smoking only relieves stress from the nicotine addiction. There was a study by the US military that proved this – think I heard it on NPR…

  169. Anonymous
    May 31, 2012 at 8:32 am

    “Actually, it turns out that’s not true. Smoking only relieves stress from the nicotine addiction.”

    So, actually, it DOES provide immediate stress relief.

  170. Mitch
    May 31, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Big Tobacco Anonymous,

    I have no ability to block or unblock comments on this thread — I didn’t post the thread. I found myself blocked a day or two ago, after wasting too much time responding to your lies. You’re probably sitting in Heraldo’s spam folder; perhaps he or she or they will dig your drivel out in a while and put it up.

  171. Anonymous
    May 31, 2012 at 8:37 am

    “So, actually, it DOES provide immediate stress relief.”

    So does a bullet to the brain.

  172. Anonymous
    May 31, 2012 at 8:38 am

    “big tobacco anonymous”…to keep it fair that would make you “billion dollar tax man”.

  173. Mitch
    May 31, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Nah, Big Tobacco, I’d be happier if the smokers got receipts, and could get a complete refund once they could prove they’d remained nicotine free for a year. If they wanted to start up again the day they got their refund, fine by me.

    I think that might be a good quit-smoking program.

    But the prop is what the prop is, and I’m all for it. YES ON 29.

  174. Anonymous
    May 31, 2012 at 8:51 am

    “Nah, Big Tobacco, I’d be happier if the smokers got receipts, and could get a complete refund”

    but that’s not what’s happening in reality, and has nothing to do wtih the billion dollar tax you’re gung ho about dumping on the general public of this state.

  175. Bolithio
    May 31, 2012 at 8:55 am

    A small quibble – Frank Zappa would never have voted Republican.

    Indeed. But he said many times that he was ‘conservative’. I would actually like to see his voting record… I think he fits the libertarian profile (based on a book I read about him)

  176. Eric Kirk
    June 1, 2012 at 1:27 am

    Bolithio – He said he was conservative in a Crossfire interview, and he did have some conservative views, but he was registered Democrat.

    He was vehemently against Tipper Gore’s record labeling proposal (as were most Democrats). He opposed the use of drugs, including marijuana, but I believe he was in opposition to the drug war under Reagan. He did oppose bussing, but then so did many liberals.

    In an interview with Charles Amirkanian in 1984 he slammed the three surviving Democrats and Reagan as not being true Democrats or Republicans. He said that the last candidate he liked was Harry Truman.

    He opposed the Gulf War.

    I guess you could say he was a libertarian in that he supported free enterprise, and I think he said something about unions having lost their purpose. But his biggest rants were against Nixon, Reagan, and Bush. Actually, he didn’t like Jesse Jackson much either.

    He hated Nixon, which is why he wrote “Dickie’s such and Asshole.” And in Hot Plate Heaven at the Green Hotel he slammed Reagan and trickle down economics, but also hit Democrats for hypocrisy.

    So basically, he was left libertarian, sort of.

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