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March 09, 2006



if these results are based on tax data, shouldn't some mention be made of the possibility that folks are cheating on the taxes?

I could be wrong, but "smoking" is not tax deductible, so I can't see how the smokers are at fault. Smokers are only taxed at the cash register, I think.


Oh, duh. You are talking about sellers? I think.


Well buyers, too..as the NY case shows they're buying from out of state over the internet.

I live in DC and never buy them here..I go across the river to Virginia.

In states with Indian tribes, people buy them there.


Actually, when you think of those little hole in the wall ciggie marts, how do they do it?


In states with Indian tribes, people buy them there.

Not true in CA, ask Meathead.


There's also a substantial blackmarket. And then, if you must, roll your own.

Soylent Red

That's what I do sometimes Clarice. Got a whole Clint Eastwood thing to it...


So this why I am chagrin at meathead...why base a program on a select few that will seek to thwart that?

Believe me I am all against punishing a section of people by way of a tax, but I am also super against it to fund an entitlement program I am fundamentally against in the first place!

For one, um when are kids supposed to be kids? I'm all for repealing the age limits on when kids should enter kindergarten, let alone state funded pre-school.

I was diligent kindergarten volunteer, the problem was ---behavior vs. curriculum

They had way too many kids not ready and the kids they did have ready, the circuliam was way too much for them.


The taxes on cigarettes are shameful. They punish poor smokers. Furthermore, the promises as to how the extra tax revenue would be used were totally ignored.

Is there one penney of tax money going to fund addiction research? Nope.

Is there one penney going to lower the cost of health insurance? Nope.

Smokers are paying a penalty TWICE for every cigarette they smoke. First in taxes, second in health insurance.

There's something that stinks about this, and it ain't the smoke.


Having switched between Norway and the USA for some years now, my anecdotal observation: Americans are smoking more than 5 years ago, Norwegians are smoking less.

I get the feeling that smoking is starting to fizzle here in Norway. It's just not all that cool. What is starting to be cool, though, is tobacco products other than cigarettes.



So stop smoking for crying out loud. You don't have to smoke, and thereby pay the taxes, and have poor health. Poor people don't have to smoke.

Gary Maxwell


Having spent part of my past summer in Denmark, Norway and Sweden I will remark that it would be hard for Scandinavian to smoke more. For a group of extremely friendly people who love the outdoors, I was appalled at the high level of smokers.

But I do agree totally with your other comment on smoking. I pay 0% taxes on cigarettes. Ask me how!


The Government should pay me to kee p on smoking. It's the only thing some days that keeps me from biting off peoples' heads.






I read an article by Noah Feldman. Any relation?

tim maguire

Seixon, there are lots of things the poor don't have to do. Does that mean it's ok for the government to tax the bejeebers out of them? Do the poor only have a right to do things they absolutely need to do?


Sue, No. But Michael (Whatda Ya Know) is my brother in law.


OT--But fun --Drudge:





Another Moral victory for the Kosman


Altria's domestic tobacco revenues for 2004 were up 3%. Since 2000 they are down 8% (18.9 b$ to 17.5 b$). Altria by itself is a big chunk of the market. I couldn't get the 1998 numbers in 2 minutes on their web site. But I'd be surprised if their revenues are down 8% while industry revenues are down 20%. Admittedly I miss a couple of years, and it's certainly possible that manufacturers are jacking up prices. But it would be simple to get that information from public sources to see if this report can hold any water.

And of course Altria may be increasing it's revenues in other countries as smuggling increses.

The Government should pay me to keep on smoking. It's the only thing some days that keeps me from biting off peoples' heads.
I dunno, do the peoples' heads need bitin' off? (Sort of like in those southern states where "Wall, he needed kellin!" is a defense to a murder charge.)

Reminds me of an old GWI joke about America's secret weapon special forces elite troop, women with PMS. "Meaner than spit and retain water like a camel." Forget airport security, our best protection against terrorist hijackers is not allowing smoking on airplanes. It ensures that ~20% of the people on a random flight are just itching to kill somebody, and nobody better get outta line...

cathy :-)


cathyf, I really like the way you think.


Well this will just kill a number of State budgets...

Guess these States will have to make up the shortfall with a tax on breathing.

In Chicago, Hizzoner just raised taxes on a pack $1.00. But Indiana and Wisconsin aren't too far away. People will always find cheaper alternatives; internet, indians, friendly States, OPs...


I'd wager nobody makes more off tobacco than government. At some point it will no longer be the best interest of "the many" to encourage people to quit because it's a huge source of revenue for the cheeeldren.


I sent the url for TM's note to the editors of the WaPo suggesting if they still had any investigative reporters on the staff they might want to assign someone to look at this.

(BTW last week they alone published a report that 1200 Iraqis had been killed in the "civil war". This was a figure greatly at odds which everyone else's. Today they ran a big piece suggesting the morgue wasn't accurately reporting. No correction just whining I guess.(Why not send their genius Fromkin over there to get to the bottom of it>)



Why bet when you can look it up?

Per Altria's 2004 annual report


Altria sold 187.1 billion cigarettes in the USA. Their revenues on those cigarettes were 17.511 billion, or $2.81 a pack. The profit on those cigarettes (messy because it depends how they allocate costs) was 4.405 billion or 70.5 cents a pack.

Per tobaccofreekids.org, federal excise tax is 39 cents a pack, and average state tax is 70 cents a pack. (They put average price at $2.61 a pack, which implies that Altria prices $0.20 higher than average, which is believable).

Anyway that means that according to Altria's numbers they make the same amount per pack as the states, and the feds make half as much as they do.

So it is possible that Altria makes more money than the state on cigarettes depending on how Altria allocate their costs. But the combined state and federal take is definitely larger than Altria's.

Altria is definitely the most profitable manufacturer, and they say that they have a 49.8% share of the domestic cigarette market (excluding internet and direct mail sales, and implicitly the black market).

However, I wonder about some of TM's argument. The data presented here are based on federal tax receipts. Federal cigarette taxes are much harder to avoid than state taxes - online merchants have to pay the federal taxes although they don't pay the state taxes. So the NYC example isn't all that useful - it's very easy for New York's smoker to get their cigarettes from outside the city, but outside of smuggling it's impossible get cigarettes without paying the federal tax.

I think the data in this report represent some lowering of consumption together with an increase in smuggling. But one of the effects of massive state taxes is that the effect of the federal tax isn't as much. When online cigarettes cost only a little more than black market cigareets (well $0.30 isn't that low, but compared to $1.50 it's not THAT much) people may be encouraged to use online retailers rather than significantly shadier black market vendors. So the states might actually be improving the federal tax take by encouraging people to go online (while certainly hurting their own).


Love Sue's comment on the danger to terrorists on the now "no smoking" flights.

Always thought it was absolutely crazy to make prisons/jails no smoking - wonder if anyone has tracked incidents of violence pre/post smoking bans.

1) I'll have to check if CSPAN promotes any of these on their weekend schedule by interviewing or just broadcasting a book signing event. Think Wonkette was already on.

2)Love to be the fly on the wall at the focus groups that will try to figure out where marketing/PR went wrong on these books.

3)Think value of data mining Amazon
will be finding Independents and Republicans who buy "un-conservative values" books, magazines, music etc. Not much value in the friends, relatives and Soros purchases of the books you cited.


Some people said the difference is that Kos' was released later, which it was. But a comparison of sales in the same time frame of the others shows KOS is still far behind. And Glenn Reynolds Army of Davids had a huge advance sale ,something KOS' didn't.


Re taxes, Congress has twice (or perhaps a third time recently) voted to not allow sales tax on interstate internet sales.


Several states have shrugged this off, and gone to using the Excise Tax. For example, I could buy cigarettes from a site for $10.80 per carton of ten packs - and the Excise on the carton is $23.50.

Several companies have shut down their web sites rather than try to comply with supplying data on their consumers` purchases. Just as was predicted if Sales taxes aplied on internet sales.

Worse may be on the way. Want to sell something on EBay for $10? At least one state is considering legislation that you would have to first have an auctioneering license - at $500.

M. Simon

Tobacco is an anti-depressant.

The anti-tobacco craze is a drug company plot.

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