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Social engineering

February 16, 2013

To the editor: I feel I’m entitled to respond to the letter to the editor from Valerie Dallenbach (Marshall Independent, Feb. 7, 2013). In her letter she referred to my earlier letter (Jan....

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Feb-16-13 8:29 AM

The cost of treating lung cancer far outweighs the taxes paid on tobacco in this state.

Instead of comparing the tobacco rate to other health issues, why not just be honest about how much it costs to treat lung cancer.

If there was a smokers health policy paid for entirely by the smoker so the taxpayers don't have to pay for their medical treatment, then you may have an argument. But no such policy exists because no one could afford the cost.

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Feb-16-13 9:49 AM

Mr. Larson suggested the government should regulate and tax obesity, ammunition and vehicle emissions, because they can be considered health hazards. I agree, and would like to add one more to his list…alcohol. Like tobacco, alcohol is a legal substance. Alcohol use often begins during the teenage years, and for some, can lead to a lifetime of addiction and health problems. But unlike tobacco, drinking contributes to financial and family problems that can disrupt a person’s life, such as missed work or increased risk of abusive family situations and divorce. Intoxicated drivers cause injury and death to many innocent people each year. So why is the government continuing to “pick on” smokers? Because using alcohol is socially acceptable and using tobacco is not. Chances are, many of our lawmakers drink. So if the government is truly concerned about helping people stop dangerous or addictive behaviors, then why not impose a tax on alcohol as well? After all, they believe taxin

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Feb-16-13 9:50 AM

After all, they believe taxing cigarettes will force people to quit smoking, so wouldn’t the same apply to drinking? Obviously, a big part of this is the government looking to increase revenue. In fairness to all Minnesotan’s rights, I think it’s time for the state to stop focusing solely on smokers and think about adding taxes to other products too. Think of the money that could be raised from an alcohol tax!

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Feb-18-13 9:31 AM

Al: "If there was a smokers health policy paid for entirely by the smoker so the taxpayers don't have to pay for their medical treatment, then you may have an argument. But no such policy exists because no one could afford the cost". Al, it was called the tobacco settlement. Why didn't you invest this money in a smokers insurance policy. Believe we could've kept up with the premiums with the tax imposed. Al, when you die, how much less are you going to cost the state than when a smoker dies?

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Feb-18-13 9:39 AM

I would think a tax on every politician and reporter for every lie they tell would make a surplus for this state and country fast.

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Feb-18-13 10:02 AM

mcgrady - unlike you I am not a politician and did not have a vote where the tobacco settlement money went. That money is long gone and current taxpayers are paying for lung cancer patients who don't have the best insurance.

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Feb-19-13 9:48 AM

Smokers are addicts and tobacco companies are dealers. It is possible that we are taxing the wrong people here.

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Feb-19-13 11:46 AM

Tax both sides and put the money in a medical trust fund to pay for the damage.

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Feb-20-13 6:10 PM

Iced, we have long ago imposed an additional "alcohol" tax above and beyond the regular sales tax. Look at your receipt when you leave the liquor store.

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Mar-02-13 8:14 AM

Really - if the tobacco tax is again increased, then increase the alcohol tax as well.

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Mar-04-13 6:06 PM

Dennis, are you kidding? Do you want non-smokers to stand up and say we are willing to smell your stinky, polluted air (and breath), not to mention health care and insurance costs we all have to bear? I have no sympathy for smokers, my parents included.

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Mar-04-13 6:38 PM

Iced, it is common for those who want to defend "smokers rights" to jump to what they think are like comparisons to try to elevate their argument. What they always forget is that day by day smoking becomes more and more a unacceptable social behavior. I'm not defending alcohol or chicken nuggets for that matter but there is clearly a different social sentiment towards smoking and smokers. For that they will be punished by the non smokers with a larger and larger tax.

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