Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Libraries versus the Cigars - or Money Talks

The Pennsylvania State Legislature pulled a marathon session last week to pass the state budget on time. They deserved to go out and celebrate this weekend. Maybe they smoked some cigars - the typical celebratory tobacco product? It would be especially fitting as once again, the State Legislature opted against taxing cigars.

Cigars are addictive and cause cancer.
Cigars are an expensive, luxury product costing up to and over $1,000 each. Yet, we don't tax cigars. Cigar bars are exempt from the smoking ban. Why do we as a state continually choose to reward cigar smokers while having a hefty cigarette tax?
"Altria and Cigars International, also hired Harrisburg lobbyists to help them bring their message directly to policy-makers."
How much do you want to bet those lobbyists handed out cigars to lawmakers for the holiday weekend? Maybe if the Carnegie libraries wanted to avoid the 8.4% cut in library funding that also passed in this budget they should have created some hybrid cigar bar libraries.

3 comments:

Daniel said...

While I understand your concern for library funding, your facts are somewhat wrong on cigars. While severe cigar smoking can cause mouth cancer, cigars are not addicting. Unlike cigarettes, they are a pure natural tobacco product, without the addictive chemicals that cigarettes contain. While admittedly I am a regular stogie smoker, I've gone as long as 3 weeks without one and had no withdraw symptoms.

The funds from the proposed cigar tax would have gone to the general fund, which most likely would have helped balanced the budget, not fund libraries.

You also exaggerate quite a bit on $1000 sticks. While there may have been some pre-Castro cigars from famous private collections that went at auction for those prices, your average imported premium cigar can be had between 5 and 10 dollars a pop. I use libraries as much as anyone else, but there is no need to blame the average cigar smoker for the lack of funding.

illyrias said...

Daniel,
Cigars are a luxury. Why shouldn't they be taxed just like liquor, cigarettes, gambling, and other vices? Certainly, you're not about to tell me that anyone who can afford to regularly smoke $5-$10 cigars can't afford a little tax on it?

I'm not blaming the average cigar smoker. I'm blaming the spineless legislators in Harrisburg who care more about smoking their next cigar than they do about libraries and other public services.

Lastly, I encourage you to read up on this website: http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/TobaccoCancer/CigarSmoking/index

Moby said...

Unlike cigarettes, they are a pure natural tobacco product, without the addictive chemicals that cigarettes contain. While admittedly I am a regular stogie smoker, I've gone as long as 3 weeks without one and had no withdraw symptoms.

You are also a giant tool. The addictive chemical in cigarettes is called nicotine and it is in the tobacco, not the additives. Cigars can certainly cause lung cancer, they are just less likely to do so that cigarettes. And, there are a great many people who use nicotine without getting addicted to it, at first. Some manage for years, but this doesn't change the fact that nicotine is addictive in any form if the word "addictive" is to have any meaning.