Smokers’ Rights

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This site presents an overview of the controversy over tobacco control, with links to documents in HTML and PDF formats available.

We will attempt to cut through the propaganda and exaggeration of anti-smoking groups by giving you access to the best available research and commentary from scores of independent research organizations, and their websites.

Cigar Rights Resources

Everywhere you look, anti-smoking groups are campaigning against smokers. They claim smoking kills one third or even half of all smokers; that secondhand smoke is a major public health problem; that smokers impose enormous costs on the rest of society; and that for all these reasons, taxes on cigarettes should be raised.

There are many reasons to be skeptical about what professional anti-smoking advocates say. They personally profit by exaggerating the health threats of smoking and winning passage of higher taxes and bans on smoking in public places. The anti-smoking movement is hardly a grassroots phenomenon: It is largely funded by taxpayers and a few major foundations with left-liberal agendas.

Cigarettes are already the most heavily taxed commodity in the U.S. The federal excise tax is $0.39 a pack and the national average state excise tax is about $0.60 per pack, for a total of $0.99 per pack. In addition, the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) increased the price of a pack of cigarettes by about $0.40 a pack. In a growing number of cities, a pack-a-day smoker pays more in cigarette taxes than he or she pays in state income taxes.

Such high and discriminatory taxes on smokers are unfair. They are also an inefficient and unreliable way to raise funds for government. Excise taxes require regular rate increases to keep pace with inflation, whereas income, sales, and property taxes all rise with inflation or economic growth. Because of their narrow bases, excise taxes are unstable revenue generators. And excise taxes require relatively high rates to raise funds. These rates, in turn, create opportunities for evasion and the transfer of economic activity to states with lower taxes.