The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Cigarette tax to benefit corporate health care, ethical?

I have great news, everyone. It is not often that somebody just swoops in and solves major problems in life for you. Do California a favor and smoke.

When I say “smoke,” I am referring to smoking tobaccocigarettes.

Before you get soil in your underwear over this, there are many public service announcements that attempt to convince people to stop or, better yet, to not start smoking. New restrictions on smoking have also been employed and now is going to be a proposition on the ballot, is serving as another attempt at getting people to stop smoking.

Think of all the money that goes into these ads, money that could be used to help fund health programs, and in vain really because there is not one smoker I know who says they are going to quit because of an anti-smoking campaign. Increasing the tax on cigarettes, like Proposition 86 is attempting to do, or banning smoking in public places or cities (see Calabasas for specifics), might persuade smokers to stop.

But shouldn’t people be able to make their own decisions and not have them made for them?

Proposition 86 would impose a 13-cent tax increase on cigarettes. The increase could potentially bring in an additional $2.1 billion annually by 2007-08 in tax revenues. Proposition 86 states that the money would go to fund various health programs that are already in need of funding like Medi-Cal. The money would also be used to fund tobacco-use-prevention programs, as well as provide funds for research, prevention and treatment of various conditions including cancers. The tax increase would allocate funds to qualified hospitals for emergency services, nursing education and health insurance to eligible children.

So I ask myself why people would want to stop smoking if they can contribute to a great cause such as funding research and hospitals and various health programs that will help thousands of people? Proposition 86 is not an incentive to stop smoking but to continue or even begin because this way we can all make a difference one puff at a time.

If Proposition 86 is an attempt to hold tobacco companies accountable, then shouldn’t fast food chains be held accountable for obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure? Increase the tax on a Big Mac, so that people can’t afford to buy them. After all, obesity is a huge health problem as well.

Whether you vote for or against Proposition 86 be sure to base your decision on the right reasons. Yes, there is a degree of arrogance in saying that someone’s reason for doing something is wrong, but this isn’t about issues, political parties, or any relative reasons as to whose side you’re on. This isn’t about whether you smoke or not. This is about fairness.

It doesn’t make sense that Proposition 86 would help fund obesity programs, and the tax increase as a deterrent is not going to work. People will find the money to fulfill their addiction and kids will also find the money or resort to stealing.

Educating kids at an early age is probably the best solution to prevent them from smoking. Getting people to quit is whole other ball game. People will only quit when they are ready to quit or when it’s too late, but they are not going to quit because of a tax increase.

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