Cigarette tax unconstitutional
It is painfully understood by California smokers that they are public outcasts, held up to hatred and ridicule by liberal nonsmokers (“Cigarette tax hike takes effect in California, costs surge by $2 per pack, Web, April 1). Indeed, arrogant celebrity Rob Reiner arranged for a voter initiative taxing smokers 50 cents per pack. This increased the cigarette tax to 87 cents, which will fund Mr. Reiner’s personal project to protect children from smoking and fund smoking-related health initiatives.
However, it turned into funding his personal “First Five” project for parents to teach children to communicate during their first five years — a noble effort, but one undertaken, of course, at smokers’ expense.
As if that weren’t unconstitutional and punishing enough, the recently passed ballot initiative imposing an outrageously punishing $2 per pack of cigarettes is no cheap trick. Indeed, it is the tyranny of the majority unconstitutionally taxing smokers (most of whom can ill afford it) to help pay for Medicaid to help the poor and to fund programs to help smokers quit smoking.
Clearly it doesn’t matter that tobacco is a legal product or that voters recently legalized the use of marijuana — even though pot is a known gateway drug and causes brain damage. It particularly doesn’t matter because pot will be heavily taxed and the general, liberal public accepts its use without question.
The crushing price of cigarettes will certainly create a black market for smugglers and increase crime. A lawsuit is certainly in order.
DANIEL B. JEFFS Apple Valley, Calif.