Lawmakers are beginning to see that they have been used by the tobacco control movementThe tobacco control activists and the politicians they've used to implement smoking bans and higher taxes on tobacco products to affect policy change seem destined for a showdown.
New York lawmakers were happy to listen to tobacco control activists' exaggerations and lies about secondhand smoke to affect policy changes like smoking bans......but now that those same policies are beginning to affect tax revenues, lawmakers may be rethinking that relationship.
Afterall, 23 smoking bans were defeated in 2005, more were defeated than passed. And so far this year a number of proposed smoking bans have failed.
But the current issue is that new tobacco control policies are beginning to affect the bottom line of local and state governments. Consider the following:
Although the steep decline in cigarette sales has been a public health boon, it has become something of a financial problem for some states. Because industry payments to states are based to some extent on the number of cigarettes sold, the settlement revenue has dropped.
-The Washington Post
The Pataki administration is refusing to enforce a new law that effectively shuts down the lucrative sale of untaxed cigarettes by the state's Native American tribes - costing the city and state $500 million this year. -NY Daily News
Judge Dismisses New York's Suit Against Internet Cigarette Sellers - Smoker's Club Inc.
Seneca leaders and a Tuscarora businessman predict they are headed for a confrontation with Spitzer, who has strongly advocated collecting cigarette taxes on the reservations at the direction of the State Legislature. -Buffalo News
It's starting to seem that lawmaker's are becoming cognizant of the negative impact of their unfounded and over-zealous anti-tobacco actions.
Might I suggest that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funds nearly all smoking ban lobbying efforts, should make up the multi-billion dollar revenue shortfalls to local governments. It is the least they can do; afterall, the RWJF is looking out for our health.