Michael Malik, writing for the Indianapolis Star, has an article entitled In a huff over tobacco tax hike. The General Assembly, at the urging of the Governor, increased the cigarette tax to fund a health program for lower income Hoosiers. The tax increase kicks in on July 1. The immediate effect is that smokers are loading up on their drug of choice before the price increase. Fortunately, there is always Kentucky. One person interviewed for the article indicated his intent to smuggle cigarettes from our neighbor to the south every six months.
I guess stockpiling is a somewhat rational response to the situation. The more rational response would be to quit smoking, though I realize nicotine is insanely addictive. Some of our fellow citizens have effectively been stripped of their free will by the drug. Given their helplessness, it’s probably a little unfair to tax them based on their use of the product. On the other hand, I have a strong bias against cigarette smoke, born of long family trips stuck in the back of a station wagon where the smoke reached the back seat, but the air conditioning never did.