Erna Mueksch, een vrouw die al 63 jaar rookt, denkt met plezier terug aan de tijd dat ze met roken begon. In haar land van herkomst, Estland, hoopte ze er in dansgelegenheden de aandacht van goeduitziende jongemannen mee te trekken.
Nu is ze 83 en rookt nog steeds, maar inplaats van een pakje per dag rookt ze nu een half pakje per dag en vindt ze het maar niks dat de belasting op sigaretten voor een prijsverdubbeling heeft gezorgd in de laatste 5 jaar.
“It’s no use, you can’t fight City Hall,” the California woman said. “I am a second-class citizen.”
Gee, anti-tobacco tells us that smoking 63 years is an impossibility. Smoking is deadly and leads to a premature, and unspeakably painful, death according to all the nannies yet here is Erna Mueksch, 83 years old, going strong and still smoking.
The focus of this article is not on feisty Erna but deals with the way all smokers are coping with policies that are insane. The cigarette tax has been far too high for a long time but lately the tax hikers are using a bizarre new twist to justify theft. Raise taxes, they tell the gullible politicians and smokers will quit, thereby saving the health system billions.
The thing is, smokers are not quitting. Some like Erna Mueksch cut down a bit but many find deals that bypass the state — and even federal — tax completely.
“The Internet is a boon to us all,” said Ray Domkus, 58, a semi-retired auto worker in Burbank, California, who has smoked for 40 years. “We don’t want to pay the high taxes that the states want us to pay.”
“Many of us are on fixed incomes and I would say a good half of us are buying from out of state,” said Domkus, who is also head of a California smokers rights group.
The politicians are becoming aware that their tax schemes have developed some leaks that over time will grow larger. Rather than brushing up on basic economics, they are writing laws to crack down on online sales. Those laws will then produce new tax evasions that will have to be addressed in the next legislative session and the cycle will never end until sanity returns to the state houses and anti-tobacco is booted out of the halls of power.
Zie Coping with insanity voor achtergrondinformatie.