Letter writers have expressed the opinion that if the recently enacted high tobacco tax discourages smokers from smoking, there will be some sort of economic dividend to society for making these people healthier. Most likely, however, society will realize a negative economic impact if a sizable number of people quit smoking because of this tax.
Of course we will see the immediate downturn in the tax revenue from tobacco sales and the negative economic impact on the tobacco industry. But beyond that, I think we will actually see the cost of medical services go up so as to cover the lost revenue from tobacco-related illness. And then there is the cost factor of supporting an ever-increasing senior population.
Not to over-dramatize, but it seems to me that smokers might actually be performing a valuable public service.
Kenneth A. McGee