Obama’s regressive smoking tax goes into effect

Even the Associate with Obama Press has called him to the carpet on this issue. Despite candidate Obama’s pledge to only soak the rick when elected, he has expectantly gone back on that promise by instituting a $0.62 cents per pack increase in the federal excise tax on cigarettes.

Behold the regressive cigarette tax:

WASHINGTON (AP) – One of President Barack Obama’s campaign pledges on taxes went up in puffs of smoke Wednesday.

The largest increase in tobacco taxes took effect despite Obama’s promise not to raise taxes of any kind on families earning under $250,000 or individuals under $200,000.

This is one tax that disproportionately affects the poor, who are more likely to smoke than the rich.

To be sure, Obama’s tax promises in last year’s campaign were most often made in the context of income taxes. Not always.

“I can make a firm pledge,” he said in Dover, N.H., on Sept. 12. “Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

He repeatedly vowed “you will not see any of your taxes increase one single dime.”

Now in office, Obama, who stopped smoking but has admitted he slips now and then, signed a law raising the tobacco tax nearly 62 cents on a pack of cigarettes, to $1.01. Other tobacco products saw similarly steep increases.

I’m going to enjoy saying “I told you so!” to everyone who told me that no no, Obama was only going to attack the rich. You were wrong and this wasn’t a surprise to the rest of us in the least.

I guess smokers aren’t included in this list of everyone earning below $250k:

There’s a whopper of a lie for you.

The smoking tax increase is considered a regressive tax because studies show that more smokers are lower income earners than high income earners. Therefore, when you raise cigarette taxes, you’re raising taxes on the lowest tax brackets.

Truth be told, I’m not a smoker and never have been. However, I think it’s ridiculous that the government heavily taxes items like cigarettes when, at the same time, they invest millions in encouraging people to quit. It’s like taking someone’s money and then telling them to stop giving it to you even though you continue to take it.

Some of us could see through Obama’s empty promises on taxes to look at his past voting record, which was anything but a record of lower taxes. If it moves, Obama will want to tax it eventually, have no doubt about it.

So you to who may have though that Obama was just going to soak the rich, don’t worry, you’ll get your chance to pay him more too. I’m sure the federal gas tax will be going up next along with taxes on your utility bills. You voted for this, right?

  • JD

    lol.. Taxing cigarettes is not going back on a campaign promise.

    The reason why the government puts the taxes on the cigarettes is to encourage the population to quite. This is not new to president Obama. lol.

    You are trying to draw an angle where there shouldn’t be one.

  • D.D.Mao

    The LAST THING the government wants is the people to STOP smoking.First they get enormous amounts of revenue from taxing both in federal and state from them. Second the get or got the enormous kickback from the COERCIVE tobacco settlement that states had spent before they even received it (for purposes besides what it was intended for).Lastly it’s a major product of 4 or 5 states and brings in big money as an export.If the government didn’t want people to smoke they would outlaw it but here again all you have to do is FOLLOW THE MONEY when Congress is involved.
    I believe Nate was refering to the usual sanctimonious liberal drival that it would hurt the poor unproportionality?

  • D.D.Mao

    A few other thoughts about this.John Edwards and the other predatory lawyers who inhabit Congress who made their fortunes on law suits against the tobacco industry have no reason to see people quit.Next the lawyer occupation is one of the biggest campaign contributors to the Democrat party and they have no reason to kill the GOLDEN GOOSE.And lastly speaking of killing the GOLDEN GOOSE smoking and ALL the sicknesses that it brings would be a boon to the Democrats national health care program.

  • JD, read this again, it is Obama’s quote verbatim:

    “Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

    He says “not any of your taxes” will increase. Next question, is the federal excise tax on cigarettes a tax? Yes, yes it is and it just increased.

    I’ll let you do the rest of the math but please, don’t tell me this is different and doesn’t count, that’s silly.

    JD, are we allowed to look at what Obama says and then what he does and make comparisons? Please, tell me when it is OK to begin holding him accountable for things he says because it sounds like you always give him a pass no matter what it is.


    You’re exactly correct. If the government truly wanted people to stop smoking, they’d outlaw it. They want people to sort of think about quitting because it’s the politically correct stance to take. In truth, they love the tax revenue and the settlements as you mentioned.

  • Checko Miller

    Comments that oppose this tax ignore or are unaware of the invisible tax on them of $196 billion a year in health care costs and lost productivity for the USA alone. It’s a bill we all pay in one way or another.
    And what about our children? The tobacco cartels formulate one of the most addictive and damaging products, target our kids with advertising to hook them before their brains’ prefontal cortex fully develops- because they know only 10% over 19 start smoking. Are we adults accepting responsibility for raising future generations? Or not?
    Federal and state governments spend far more billions in tax dollars treating tobacco diseases than they take in with tobacco taxes. There is no profit. Yet, legislators do profit from lobbying (bribery) dollars to ignore or cover up the impact of this product that causes a pandemic killing 5 million people a year.
    If the tobacco tax motivates more people, poor or not, to quit smoking or chewing tobacco, they will “profit” – as well as every tax payer.

  • Checko, welcome to the site, thanks for joining the conversation.

    However, let me ask you this. We all know cigarettes are terrible for your health and addictive. Therefore, if they are so bad, why wouldn’t the government be seeking to ban them or severely curtail access to them?

    Instead the government leaves them available yet taxes them to the hill.

    Can you explain the discrepancy? If the government cares about your health with regard to smoking, why tax it? Why not ban it entirely?

    However, you have just illustrated the problem with universal health care as well. Why should I as a non-smoker be forced to pay for someone’s lung cancer treatments who was a smoker all their lives? It’s not right.

  • bones

    Very good point Nate. Perhaps a solution would be to tax the crap out of cigarettes to cover the imbalance?

  • bones, the problem though is what do you do when you tax them to the point people stop smoking and then the government loses that revenue to cover disproportionate health care costs? It’s a vicious circle to go down the road of taxing something that you want people to stop using.

    Again, it’s like you giving me money while I take that money and encourage you to stop giving me money. Either tax it reasonably or ban it, one or the other because I think it’s crazy to keep hiking taxes on something with the intent to stop people from using it. Will they begin taxing SUVs because the Obama administration wants people to drive hybrids? Who knows…

    This really is the root of my argument against universal health care. If I or anyone else chooses to live healthy, we have no obligation to pay for someone’s health care if they chose to abuse their body their entire life. It’s extortion to charge me for someone else’s choice to smoke, drink, over eat, sky dive, etc… Whatever it may be! Likewise, I won’t ask a smoker to subsidize my health.

  • D.D.Mao

    What is it with the liberal left that they have this penchant for taxing especially under the guise of “doing it for the children”.Washington revolves around two things…..POWER AND MONEY.

    The left wants to have the best of both ways schmoozing their supporters while flim-flammimg them into believing it will be paid for by the rich or thru sueing tabacco etc.They also go into an arguement with blinders on for example Checko showed concern for:

    * Children deciding to smoke before having “brains prefontal cortex fully developed” yet when it comes to having a 13 year old decide about having an abortion they are perfectly O.K.with the teenager being able to make this decision on their own.

    * “Are we adults accepting responsibility for future generations” yet it doesn’t bother them a twit to saddle future generations with an insurmountable debt with the passing of President Obama’s stimulus bill and budget.

  • D.D.Mao

    Nate…….After people stop smoking they will go after the snack industry and tax to the hilt anything with sugar.Then they will go after the meat industry and tax to the hilt red meat.And then….well you get the point! All under the guise of THEY ARE PAYING YOUR HEALTH CARE SO THEY CAN TELL YOU WHAT TO EAT AND WHAT NOT TO EAT.

  • My father is a life long smoker, he clearly shows that he’s a smoke through age and well as health. I asked him for his thoughts on the matter. As he stated, lower income citizens make up the demographics for those who smoke in this country. He had an interesting theory which is, raise taxes on tobacco and the crime rate with increase. As we’ve seem before, anybody with an addiction will go to great lengths to satisfy the addiction.

    D.D Mao, you made great points, I couldn’t have said them better myself. Wouldn’t it be something if all of America stopped smoking, working and paying taxes? Congress would be, well you know what they would be.

    Now I thought we were told on the campaign trail that Obama had quit smoking, I guess that was another lie he fed us. Now he says he will never smoke inside the White House. Sure, we believe you. I find it funny how our President takes such good care of his physical appearance yet soils his health by smoking. He may call Jessica Simpson fat, but he has his own gross flaws to tend to. Michelle must not mind kissing a smoke stack. To me there’s no bigger turn off.


    That is the honest-to-God truth and it’s already been happening in many forms.

  • Babs

    Anybody stop to wonder why they didn’t raise the liquor tax instead? You don’t see cigarette commercials on TV, you see beer and liquor commericals, so you can drop the teenage angle there. Alcohol kills – not only the person using the alcohol, but innocent lives are lost due to alcohol related accidents and domestic violence every day. No one ever got behind the wheel of a car and took an innocent life because they had one cigarette too many. Take the moral aspects out of the equation. It’s a financial issue. If it was intended to be a moral deterrent, they would have chosen alcohol over tobacco.

    They’re not taxing alcohol because that would severely impact 99.9999% of the upper class, and everyone knows it. But they would reap more revenue if they did. As someone else said, the tobacco industry is a major contributor to our economy, and this additional tax – no matter what the funds are earmarked for – is going to have a negative impact in at least small way.

    Will some people stop smoking? Maybe, but I doubt it. I can remember when my Dad and Uncle said when cigarettes hit 50 cents a pack they were going to quit. Did they? No.

    The truth is that the new tax WILL impact the lower and middle class more than anyone else. Do non-smokers care? No, that’s why there will be no uproar. Does the upper class care? No, they can afford them if they go to $10 a pack.

    The tax impacts the sector of the country with the least voice. And that’s where it was aimed.

  • D.D.Mao

    When TED KENNEDY proposes a tax on liquor is when I quit !

  • Babs

    See how easy it was to get the point? 😉

  • D.D Mao, spot on! The whole time I was reading Bab’s post I was thinking, “ha, not if the Kennedy’s have anything to do with it”, then I scroll down and see you post exactly what I was thinking, too funny!

  • D.D.Mao

    Conservative Gal and Nate………Thank you both for your kind words.

  • Steve

    More right-wing whiners. Smoking is a discretionary activity. YOU DON’T HAVE TO SMOKE. A tax on a discretionary activity is not the same as an income tax. If you don’t like the tax on cigarettes – quit smoking. But whatever you do, please quit whining. You’re giving the rest of us a headache!

  • True Steve. Just like me paying for your health care is a discretionary action which I also refuse to do.

  • Bill Hedges


    You’re right, I can stop smoking cigs…

    When this new Carbon tax comes, we all can stop buying food (grow your own), buying products, driving cars (walk), use utilities (caught rain water), etc..

    You see this tax will be added to near all things… These are discretionary activity. You don’t have to heat or cool your house. Heck, you can live in a cave for free.

    You’re right. And I believe in Obama’s change

  • D.D.Mao

    Steve……Funny the liberal left doesn’t use the term “discretinary activity” in their discription of what they want to cover in their National Health Care Plan.They veiw the more they can cover with this hodge-podge of socialist egalitarianism the more bureaucracy that Washington can create.