No doubt that the do-gooders will spin this as a good thing. I personally don’t smoke cigarettes. I tried them in high school and never liked them. I do smoke cigars on special occasions and also a pipe. I’m not militantly anti-smoking though I recognize the health consequences and wish my smoking friends would quit for that reason.
But the idea that people are quitting smoking to avoid paying new taxes is both instructive and scary. It’s instructive because it brings home the reality that you can raise taxes to a point where they produce no additional revenues. It’s a perfect illustration of the Laffer curve. The big problem is that the lost revenue is being banked on by the government. Without that revenue we continue the pattern of perpetuating programs without the money to pay for them.
And it’s scary because it demonstrates once again the state’s power to control your life. They can require or prevent any behavior that’s fashionable/unfashionable through taxation.
Welcome to the brave new world of hope and change.