Smoker’s Rights

Smokers Unite…

Stop letting the Democrats and Republicans stomp all over your rights!

The Libertarians are the ONLY political party standing up for your rights.

[ Click here to read our Smoker’s Rights Brochure ]

1 – The War on Smokers

As you know, NYC and NY State have each recently raised their taxes to a whopping $1.50 per pack – up from 8 cents (!) for the city and up from $1.11 for the state. Including other taxes, NY smokers now pay over half the the cost of a pack to the taxman, while in most other states less than 50 cents per pack goes to taxes. You don’t have to be a smoker paying over $8 a pack to recognize THIS extortion racket. In addition, restrictions on smoking on such private property as restaurants and offices continue to tighten. Local politicians, including Mayor Bloomberg, have openly declared that THEY know how you should/will live YOUR life. “We will continue to fight this until nobody smokes,” said Councilman Stanley Michels (D-Manhattan). We prefer an individual health based approach and support centers for detox in New York.

2 – What are the inevitable negative consequences?

Cigarette taxes of this size constitute, in effect, a cigarette prohibition and, as happened with other drugs and alcohol, a black market is sure to surface to meet the demand. (A similar gigantic tax hike in Canada in ’92 – ’93 created a $1 billion smuggling industry. Two years later they repealed the tax.) Black markets, unregulated as they are, breed violence and police corruption. Black market activity also requires police attention, so look for your taxes to go up even further to pay for this enforcement, and for precious criminal justice resources, including courts and prisons, to be diverted from violent crime (and terrorism) concerns to victimless “crime”.

This tax hike will have a devastating effect on small stores, groceries and bodegas throughout the city. Not only will their cigarette sales plummet, but they’ll lose much of the sales of other products that cigarette shoppers buy while they’re there. Many businesses will be forced to close. Others will seek friendlier places to operate, leaving jobs in their wake. It’s especially ironic that Mayor Bloomberg, who has argued frequently and persuasively that tax increases hurt the business climate and are bad for the city, championed THIS increase.

3 – How can you fight back?

Because the last thing you want to do is put more money into the greedy hands of our politicians, legally AVOID THE TAXES by growing your own tobacco and/or rolling your own cigarettes, or by buying online or at Indian reservations. An Internet search using the words “tax free cigs” will turn up scores of sites offering cheap smokes – and confidentiality for customers. Internet sellers offer name-brand cartons for LESS THAN HALF the going rate in city stores, and other brands sell online for as cheap as $10 a carton. And at last count, in 1998, there were 85 Indian-owned tobacco outlets in the state.

Finally, know that it’s the Democrats AND Republicans that are responsible for these harmful, mindless policies, and that under their control things will only get worse. The Libertarian Party stands alone in fighting for smokers’ rights. Libertarians know it’s hypocritical and wrong of politicians to legislate morality by cherry-picking which vices get burdened with onerous taxes, and foolish of them to ignore the negative implications of such policies. What’s next, huge tax increases on fatty foods?

Libertarians understand that property rights and freedom of contract are especially important to unpopular minorities, like smokers, who otherwise might have no escape from the tyranny of the majority. And Libertarians believe that when it comes to peaceful adult behavior, like smoking, government should not interfere. Isn’t it a matter of choice?

The Manhattan Libertarian Party stands up to the political establishment every day. We’re running candidates, participating in forums, organizing protests and making our voices heard, even when what we have to say is unpopular.

We invite you to join us.