Poor smokers in New York State spend about a quarter of their entire income on cigarettes, nearly twice as much as the national average for low-income smokers, according to a new study.
The study, conducted by the non-profit research group RTI on behalf of the state's health department, found there was no statistically significant decline in the prevalence of smoking among poorer New Yorkers between 2003 and 2010, even as the habit declined by about 20 percent among all income groups.As usual, the people who have enforced this are adamant that it's not their fault. Oh Lord no! What is required is more money for them, and - of course - more spanking of those who continue to ignore their diktats.
So the response to this study shouldn't be to deplore the "regressive" effect of cigarette taxes on the poor, but to address the regressive effect of tobacco industry marketing and resultant high smoking rates on the health and economic well-being of the poor.
The best way to do that is to that is to return more of their cigarette tax dollars to the poor in the form of enhanced and expanded tobacco prevention and cessation effortsThat's right. To tackle the problem of poor people being hit hard by overwhelming taxation, the state should give more money to those who got us into this situation so that they can punish the poor further.
Meanwhile, another policy of theirs is similarly damaging to those on low incomes, as recently published (again, thanks to fellow jewel robber Alan B for getting past the public health secrecy wall). In fact, arguably more so.
The move from restrictions on smoking in the workplace to non-smoker and, more recently, nonnicotine hiring policies represents an important shift in tobacco control that can have significant costs for smokers, those living with them, and those attempting to quit. That smoking is increasingly concentrated among disadvantaged groups who are also more susceptible to job insecurity suggests that such policies must also be assessed from a social justice perspective. Tobacco control and health care organizations have sought to support this move by linking employment restrictions to their organizations’ commitments to broader antismoking goals, focusing on the requirement that employees act as advocates and role models and on the contribution that hiring restrictions can make to the denormalization of smoking. Neither of these arguments stands up to scrutiny, suggesting that nonsmoker and nonnicotine hiring policies may damage, rather than support, the fight against smoking.Just to break that down for you, it means that policies demanding smokers are refused employment - which is something the tobacco control industry are actively pursuing - predominantly hurt those on low incomes. The study has - no shit, Sherlock - concluded that this is a bad thing.
Those in the tobacco control industry whose only ongoing concern is where to take their skinny latte and goat's cheese pannini of a lunchtime don't care much, though. They don't just want to take as much money off of people on meagre incomes as possible, they are also trying their hardest to stop them earning it in the first place.
Such a caring profession, don't you think?
And all because their targets refuse to bow down to this self-installed middle class cognoscenti who - irony of ironies - leech their handsome salaries off the back of taxes paid by precisely the working class people they incessantly impoverish.
Know your place plebs. Obey your rich public health masters or end up on a park bench with your kids.