Paul’s Perambulations

April 5, 2011

Cigarettes, 2 for $1: The Brisk, Shady Sale of ‘Loosies’

Filed under: General,Politics,Work — admin @ 9:05 pm

The title above is from a recent NYTimes article about the illegal sale of single cigarettes, and it poses many questions about the society we live in. Here are some things to consider:

 Does this encourage people to break the law? Does it even become “hip” or “smart” to be a little bit illegal? What about all the folks who cross state lines to avoid paying their sales tax on liquor or other items?

Is this American entrepreneurship?  The central character is working regularly, when no other more appropriate jobs are available for him.

Is this how we get healthcare – doing your time in prison?        

Is it better to buy cigarettes piecemeal than to have the temptation that comes from carrying a pack handy?  Or, does this put temptation in people’s way?  What about those who have quit, barely?

Is this a human contact in a cold, impersonal city?

Is this a hygiene threat, to be handling loose cigarettes for cash among many people? Might these cigarettes be something other than the purported Newports – what exactly are you ingesting?

Does he ask for ID? Should we assume he sells to minors?

Should the police be spending much time enforcing laws forbidding this? What does arrest, processing and incarceration cost the state?

Is this victimless crime?

Is this promoting bad health and cancer in particular?

Would it be better if taxes were collected and paid on these sales, so that these taxes could be used to help pay for the increased costs of health care (e.g., treating cancer) that smoking entails?

Is the state really trying to control an unsafe behavior via heavy taxation, or is it just looking to find any ways that it can to increase revenue?

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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