Between 1998 and 2002, state and federal governments collected $135 billion in tobacco taxes and state settlement payments -- more than $74 million a day. The $51,334 the government pocketed every minute from smokers was nearly $10,000 more than the 2001 median household income the average working family earned in a year.
In 2003, the government per-pack profit -- $1.74 -- was almost 16 times more than the 11 cents per pack R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company earned. On average, 46 percent of the cost of a pack of cigarettes nationwide goes to the government.
According to a March 2004
report by the U. S. General Accounting Office (GAO), states are
spending just 2 percent of the billions of dollars they receive
settlement funds on tobacco control and less than 20 percent on
The GAO reports that 54 percent of the $11.4 billion states will receive in fiscal year 2004 will be spent on budget shortfalls, 17 percent on health-related programs, 7 percent on debt service on securitized tobacco settlement funds, 6 percent on general purposes, 5 percent on infrastructure, and just 2 percent toward tobacco control.
The above statistics were reported by R.J. Reynolds'
Smokers and nonsmokers alike should speak out against our elected officials lying to us about its purposes and intentions in taxing tobacco.
Smokers are being characterized by propoganda as undesirable citizens, so that our opinions will be disregarded, and so that it will be acceptable to place this huge tax burden on us.
But they don't want us to stop smoking. They want us to keep buying tobacco and paying the tax!
Nobody likes to pay taxes, yet they are necessary. But taxation should be fairly shared by everyone. It is wrong to single out one class of citizen to bleed dry for the benefit of the rest.