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Carl Hiaasen on efforts to block Florida's new cigarette tax:

"Ellyn Bogdanoff, the Fort Lauderdale Republican who chairs the
Finance and Tax Committee in the House … strongly opposes a
cigarette tax because fewer smokers would be bad for business. The woman is dead serious, folks. In
particular, Bogdanoff worries about the impact that a cigarette tax
would have on convenience stores — not exactly the bedrock of our
economy, but these are the establishments where most young smokers buy
their Marlboros and Camels.

''Twenty-two percent of all sales in
convenience stores are cigarettes,'' Bogdanoff said. “We need to look
at everything. If they don't go in to buy cigarettes, they don't buy
the Coke. They don't buy the chips.''

And if they don't buy the chips, then they don't buy the beef jerky! God help us!"

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  1. High cigarette taxes are punitively regressive. They do in fact target both low income smokers and small business owners who rely on the smokers’ business, as described. Furthermore, restricting the activity of smoking in a variety of venues strains too much our traditional conceptions of social freedom. The current situation is unethical and untenable, and regulators are compromised, not justified, by the fact that cigarettes are addictive. We should deal with cigarettes through the primary prevention of a sales ban, or we should choose to deal with the effects of smoking through treatment and tertiary prevention and stop complaining.