Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by berthesghost, Sep 21, 2012.
Wow, that sucks. But I support "sin" taxes.
Does the state (or city) of New York offer free cessation services to low income? If they do that, I don't think the tax can be considered regressive. If you don't want to pay the tax, you could just NOT buy cigarettes (which is the point of the tax). Since cessation programs are expensive, not offering them to low income people would make it regressive, because it is very difficult to say after the fact "well, you should have never started smoking", and the cost to quit could mean only better off people are able to do it.
A pack of cigarettes in Vancouver BC is $10, so if you smoke two packs a day - which heavy smokers do - you have a $20 a day habit, which equals $600 a month and $7200 a year.
There are a variety of smoking cessation services for free though and nicotine patches cost a lot less. In fact, you can just dial a number and get three months worth of nicotine patches free per year, for multiple years. At least that is how it is at the moment. And you can get your friends and family members to get free patches for you too!! I find it quite interesting, especially since you can get any strength of patch you want. Plus, the three strengths of patches cost the same. . .
So, pharmaceuticals clearly want smokers to become dependent on nicotine patches and/or other NRT.
But, it's better than spending $7200 a year. A lot of addicts will go without food or other necessities to buy their substance of choice.
If you use the patch to quit the way it's advised, it takes 3 - 4 months to gradually decrease the amount of nicotine going into the body. I don't think the patch was designed to be a long-term replacement for cigarettes.
As for the tax, it's the same for all the sin taxes. The heavy users who are lower income are going to pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes. The continual increase in those taxes by governments, especially on tobacco products, are designed to encourage people to quit. It was the cost that finally spurred me to quit over ten years ago -- when the price hit $10/pack, it was time to give them up. But, addictions are as individual as the people who have them -- everyone will handle them differently. What worked for me won't necessarily work for others.
It's really hard to complain about a tax that's designed to encourage people to stop doing something that's harmful to their health, as well as those around them.
I don't know about Canada, but I don't believe the US government really wants people to quit. Why else are tobacco farmers subsidized & why are laws friendly to tobacco companies? Why are they allowed to put fillers into cigarettes that make them even more habit-forming than just tobacco?
I don't believe the tax is designed to encourage people to stop smoking. I think it's just another way to gouge people who are already dependant.
According to Wikipedia, tobacco price supports ended 7+ years ago: "Adoption of the tobacco quota buyout in P.L. 108-357, Title VI, ended also the price support program for the 2005 crop and subsequent years."
This Congressional Research Service report confirms: http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org/assets/crs/95-129.pdf
I don't mean to underplay the negative effects of earlier government policies; my mother's been dragging around an oxygen tank for about 10 years.
Yes, and cancer research is such a lucrative industry....
So poor people use easily accessible drugs to numb themselves from their existence? How fascinating! What a valuable study. I never would have guess this could be true!
I want to head a study someday that will prove that people without food are often hungry. I believe I could accomplish this study for somewhere in the $100,000 to $200,000 range.
The study is looking at the relative impact of smoking taxes on different income groups, not at the reasons for smoking. I think that's a worthwhile topic to study.
I'm not so sure actually. A lot of people do develop long-term dependencies on NRT. I recently read about an ex-dipping tobacco addict who was using four patches a day on an ongoing basis.
And while all NRTs have instructions for weaning off nicotine entirely, I question whether that is pharmaceutical companies' primary - or only - aim. The fact that they will give three free months supply of patches for multiple years is questionable, as is the fact that they are so easy to obtain. Just dial 811 and the only question they ask is whether you have taken Zyban or Chantix in the past six months. Then they are put in the mail. A person could get friends and family members to order patches for them as well and have a long-term free supply.
Add to that the fact that all three strengths of patches are the same price, giving no financial incentive to reduce the dosage. And they are available over the counter.
So I don't fully trust the pharmaceutical companies on this. They know that nicotine is addictive and profit mightily from NRTs, not to mention drugs that aim to assist people in quitting smoking. Nicotine isn't anywhere near as harmful as smoking and research on the health risks of nicotine on its own is lacking. Companies can market NRTs as heavily as they like and NRT advertising romanticizes addiction no less than tobacco advertising - e.g. in a current ad for nicorette spray a woman is on a dinner date and the spray made to look like a mouth refreshing mist. The caption 'for every cigarette, there's a nicorette' is catchy and clever IMO.
Lastly, smokers are advised to use the patch for 24 hours, which will only increase nicotine dependency - smokers' bodies at least get a break when they are sleeping. This is just one of a few questionable directions on the nicotine patches.
And most people I know who have used the patch, including me, figured out pretty quickly that the restless nights and wild dreams were a direct result of wearing the patch 24/7. The easy fix is to take it off at night, and put it on again in the morning.
Have you seen the cigarette packages in Canada?
However, what I'm questioning is 24-hour patch. Smokers are being advised to increase the time nicotine is in their bodies while also being advised to reduce the patch dosages in a certain time. It's kind of contradiction and a mixed message. It suggests to me that they really didn't put much serious thought how the patch should be used to quit smoking.
I know that saving $7200/year or even half of that would be a huge incentive for me to quit, if I smoked. That would be a nice vacation, or two, or three, that would increase the happiness in my life tremendously!
No. That's why I said I don't know about Canada.
I wouldn't be surprised to hear that low income alcoholics spend 50% or more of their income on their addiction. Sad, but likely.
I quit on the patch, and have known others who have, None of us ever abused it like you are describing - and quite frankly, why bother? Why not just smoke? Now, I did know someone who chewed Nicorette gum well past the usual time for use, but he eventually stopped that too due to stomach issues.
Even if a very small number of people were to abuse it like you describe, the patch's effectiveness to the majority far outweighs the risks of abuse.
They're pretty graphic - pictures of what smoking can do to lungs etc.
The funniest scene in the film "Thank you for smoking" was when the anti-smoking group stuck nicotine patches all over the main character and gave him such a massive dose of nicotine he couldn't have another cigarette otherwise it would kill him. And also for a film about smoking they didn't have one scene with smoking in it.
I have always viewed smoking as an equivalent to lighting up dollar bills. Because it is just an incredible waste of money. But any addiction costs money and not in a positive way, whether socially or personally. Really is best not to start anything in the first place.
I can think of one person who used the patch on and off for more than ten years before becoming smoke- and patch-free. And of another who chewed the gum for quite a few years. Granted, that is a small sample, and as to the why: a) nicotine is addictive and b) patches or gum are nowhere near as bad for you as smoking
If you do a Good search you'll find lots of stories about NRT dependence, such as: http://robie2.hubpages.com/hub/Trading-Cigarettes-for-Addiction-to-Nicotine-Gum
I don't disagree with this at all.
What I question is pharmaceutical companies' intention. Even if a small percentage of people who use NRT become dependent on it or use it in repeated attempts to quit, it is a lot of money.
Take a look, some are not for the faint of heart.
Australia has those as well.
In fact by the end of the year the packaging of cigarettes will be in plain olive colour. No branding. The cigarette companies have been challenging the decision. They have been releasing pre-emptive packages which have half the wrapping pealed off and saying things like "It is what is inside that counts".