Today, President Obama delivered to Congress his administration’s proposed budget that includes a $.94 per pack increase in the federal cigarette tax rate and an increase in all other tobacco tax rates by a similar proportion. This means that the Obama Administration’s proposal would raise the federal cigarette tax to $1.95 per pack (a 93% increase in the cigarette tax) and a similar proportionate increase in the tax rates on cigars, pipe tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco products. If enacted into law by Congress, these cigarette and tobacco tax increases would go into effect on January 1, 2014.
These proposed cigarette and tobacco tax increases are estimated to raise $78 billion over the next ten years to fund the President’s initiative to extend preschool education to all four year olds from families with low to moderate incomes.
Below is the language from President Obama’s 2014 Budget Submission to Congress that summarizes the proposed cigarette and tobacco tax increases. The actual proposed tax rates are not referenced in the summary.
- Increase tobacco taxes and index for inflation.
- Under current law, cigarettes are taxed at a rate of $50.33 per 1,000 cigarettes. This is equivalent to just under $1.01 per pack, or approximately $22.88 per pound of tobacco. Taxes on other tobacco products range from $0.5033 per pound for chewing tobacco to $24.78 per pound of roll your-own tobacco.
- The Administration proposes to increase the tax on cigarettes to $97.65 per 1,000 cigarettes, or about $1.95 per pack, increase all other tobacco taxes by about the same proportion, and index the taxes for inflation after 2014. The Administration also proposes to clarify that roll-your-own tobacco includes any processed tobacco that is removed for delivery to anyone other than a manufacturer of tobacco products or exporter. The rate increases would be effective for articles held for sale or removed after December 31, 2013.
Marc Munroe Dion
Up in Canada (where I understand they keep beavers as house pets) a woman named Pamela McColl has caused to be published a vile, stinking travesty of an American classic.
McColl paid for her book to be published, which is what you do when your book stinks so much that no one will publish it and pay you.
What’s McColl done? I shudder.
She re-wrote Clement Moore’s "Twas The Night Before Christmas" and, in so doing, has removed the lines, "The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth. And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath."
The poem’s a classic, that rarest of literary reindeers, an enduring piece of writing but, in 2012 Canada (and she’s brought this lousy book to America, too), we don’t give a damn for classics. What we give a damn for is the endless self-aggrandizement of self-published literary losers whose "talent" doesn’t stretch beyond butchering someone else’s work.
C. R. S. Lyles
In addition to the strain of added taxes and its almost "guilty by association" nature, pipe tobacco is now facing a renewed threat (initially from 2010) to its survival in the form of loose tobacco being reclassified as pipe tobacco in order to avoid state and federal taxes. According to estimates published by the Orlando Sentinel, the Ithaca Journal and USA Today, the money lost in federal and state taxes due to the roll-your-own (RYO) reclassification of loose tobacco as pipe tobacco by switching the labels equaled roughly $615 million to over $1 billion federally and over $60 million in Florida alone from April 2009 to August 2011.
Of course, the general public takes these dollar figures as fact, and doesn’t recognize them as the speculative estimates that they truly are. This is usually the case with any type of made-up numbers being presented as facts to vilify tobacco. The population at large swallows them whole instead of perceiving them for the politically motivated hyperbole that they are.
This information was released in a report last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and it claims that, after Florida, Texas was the second state to lose the most tax revenue (over $30 million) due to the nearly $22 difference per pound between RYO and pipe tobacco.
C. R. S. Lyles
From the Editor: The opening photograph to this article is meant to be sarcastic parody. I’m sure our primary audience knows this, but with the anti-tobacco lunacy spiraling ever higher, I am forced to give an explanation up front to avoid a potential crucifixion.
New York City banned all flavored tobacco without an exemption for pipe tobacco. Effectively, almost all pipe tobacco will now be illegal there. The FDA is now considering following suit on a national level. The supposed reasoning is to save the children from the evils of tobacco. Ok, fine, but why not exempt pipe tobacco (and cigars)? Find me one “child” that actually smokes pipe tobacco in a briar pipe and I’ll give you a million dollars.
They are potentially solving a problem that doesn’t exist while putting an entire industry out of business. - Kevin Godbee
By C. R. S. Lyles
Imagine the scene if you will.
It’s Christmas time, the bitter chill of the wind has driven all warm bodies into the glow of their light-strewn and Santa Clause-d houses, and as the youngest daughter of the family crawls up onto her grandfather’s lap to hear “The Night Before Christmas” for the very first time, Grandpa strikes a match and brings the flame down to the bowl of his pipe.
Now, while the various nanny-state and health crusaders of this country might portray this portrait as picturesque up to the point that Grandpa lights up, Paul Creasy, current Chairman of the Pipe Tobacco Council and General Manager of the Pipe Tobacco Division of Altadis USA, explains why this scene remains as Norman Rockwell as it gets from beginning to end.
“[When it comes to pipe tobacco], you can usually make the argument that ‘Look, do you really want to ban Grandpa’s pipe?’, and normally, people will say “Well no, that wasn’t the intent of this law — we were really going after something else.”
By C. R. S. Lyles
Tobacco could kill 1 billion this century.
That’s the headline of a heartwarming news article published in Reuters a few years ago which claims that "if current trends hold, global health experts said" that if we don’t lay off the smokes, then by 2100 we can kiss about 14% of the current population goodbye.
The report was gleaned from information published in the 2009 Tobacco Atlas by the World Lung Foundation and the American Cancer Society.
Here’s some of the numbers that were tossed in there for dramatic effect:
By C. R. S. Lyles
On June 11th, 2011, despite protestations from local business-owners and smokers alike, Springfield, Missouri passed Council Bill 2010-180, which bans any and all smoking activity indoors within the city limits.
“The City Council has determined that the adoption of this ordinance furthers the public health and welfare of the community by prohibiting smoking in public places and places of employment, and by guaranteeing the right of non-smokers to breathe smoke-free air, and further determining that the need to breathe smoke-free air shall have priority over the desire to smoke.”
The above passage is taken directly from Council Bill 2010-180, which was filed over a year before the injunction took place and was sponsored by Council members Dan Chiles, John Rush, Cindy Rushefsky, and Mayor Jim O’Neal.
By C. R. S. Lyles
I saw a commercial today promoting some new show on Nickelodeon called Victorious. I have no idea what the show is about, nor do I have any interest in it whatsoever (as I presume, probably correctly, that it is merely the network’s answer to "tween wave" drivel that the Disney channel continues to spew out), but the marketing focus of the commercial held me riveted.
The commercial preceded to promote the "hits" from the show, songs which included "Freak The Freak Out" and "My Best Friend’s Brother". And you know what the really sad part about this is?
Its most-watched episode had 6.1 million viewers.
By C.R.S. Lyles
I write to you from the road as I flee the oppressive atmosphere of a campus run rampant with anti-smoking campaigns and rules targeted to ostracize those brave enough to light up at the University of Florida.
Long known for its "anything goes", "whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" attitude, it is more the entire state of Nevada that I am interested in relocating to. Adverse to the ham-handed legislature of its neighbor Arizona (which has caused quite a media riot over the last several months), Nevada has actually managed to pass a rather controversial piece of legislature without inciting the fury of the masses.
By C. R. S. Lyles
Just the other day, I turned on my television and ran across a commercial promoting an anti-acne product called Epiduo. Throughout the entire length of the commercial, the mantra of "don’t blame yourself; blame biology" was repeated multiple times, and I couldn’t help but see a parallel between this very phrase and the reputedly-negative health aspects which have always been synonymous with smoking.
But how negative are they really?
We as a society have always taken the inherent risks of smoking at face-value, confident that the authority figures and so-called experts know what they are talking about when they tell us how smoking will lead to disease and death.
But, as with all authority figures in a post-Nixon America, taking their word at face value is the surest way of ensuring that you’re going to be lied to.