The taxes have many names including the ‘sin taxes.’  Other names include tobacco tax,  sumptuary tax. and excise tax. The argument for a tax directly on tobacco comes from the social costs of caring for smokers. For each pack of cigarettes smoked, we increase medical costs $7. 

Until age 56, obesity takes the largest toll on individual health with all of the healthcare costs rasing medical costs for everyone else. That’s because we have a closed system for healthcare. Only Americans pay for healthcare in America. If costs rise, those costs increase for everyone in the system. All Americans who visit a doctor or hospital pay for all the hidden costs of treating obesity. Or cancer.

Tobacco smokers older than 56 had the highest estimated health costs of all groups, but since life expectancy is shorter for smokers, the “lifetime health expenditure was highest among healthy-living people.”

And dying from cancer or heart disease is very expensive in America. Dead Americans don’t pay many hospital bills.

So support for tobacco taxes comes from a desire not just to save kids from a short life and a long painful death but simple economics. Our nation can’t support the medical costs of smoking.

However, tobacco companies are nothing if not creative. When taxes were raised on ‘roll your own tobacco,‘ tobacco companies pretty much stopped selling that type of tobacco. Now pipe tobacco is bought for hand rolled cigarettes.

What’s the difference in taxes? $22 dollars per pound.

Please note in the article that the entire tax on ‘roll your own cigarette’ tobaccos went to healthcare for kids. Or would have.

When the GOP whines about the complexity of our tax code, remember this article. Tax laws change to keep up with corporate creativity, known as creative compliance. And Corporations avoid paying taxes just like they avoid paying a living wage. That would be whenever possible.