Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Ignorance of Vinny DeMarco

As the cigarette tax gets ready to double on Tuesday, Vinny DeMarco proves that in actuality, he doesn't have a clue:

"That's part of finishing the job - increasing the tax on all tobacco products," said Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative. "The tax on noncigarette tobacco products would have been a good source of funding for tobacco-prevention programs."

DeMarco said the cigarette tax increase, however, should be praised. "It's great, and they've accomplished a lot," he said of the General Assembly. "Combined with the smoke-free workplace law, those two together are really going to save a lot of people from tobacco addiction. A lot of people are going to be encouraged to quit by the tax."
If you hear about DeMarco from the media and from the left, he's some sort of saint. I've ran into him before and he's just a sleazy lobbyist type. But I never thought he was ignorant and clueless until I read thebolded statement above.

DeMarco's comments about the smoke-free workplace are complete nonsense, as if being in a environment that allowed smoking caused people to become addicted to smoking. It doesn't event sound logical when you say it out loud. There are a variety of reasons people get addicted to tobacco, but they are all involve somebody making the really bad judgment call to start using tobacco products. Being around an environment where others are using tobacco does not make the cigarette jump into your mouth and light itself.

And DeMarco's assertion that people are going to be encouraged to quit by raising the sales tax does not take into account the medical condition we call "addiction." People who are addicted to cigarettes are not necessarily going to take into account the cost-benefit analysis when decided to buy cigarettes, any more than a drug addict is going to weight the cost of jail time against the need for a hit when they are buying heroin on the street corner. Some people are addicted to smokes. That's just the way it is.

DeMarco's comments show a shocking level of naïveté on issues of smoking and addiction from somebody who is an "expert" on health care. The cigarette tax will do nothing to save lives from those who are already addicted to smoking, and is just another way Democrats go out of they way to stick it to the poor.

(Crossposted)

1 comment:

Bruce Godfrey said...

Brian, one of the main arguments for the War on Drugs is that allowing drugs to be used promotes addiction. Now I oppose the War on Drugs categorically, but a greater moral case can arguably be deployed against the use of lit tobacco than against heroin by needles. Second-hand tobacco smoke in a workplace or place of public accommodation is an irritant and long-term carcinogen against third parties, whereas shooting up in the bathroom does not directly harm people in the same way. Smoking was once (and in some places still is) a social activity; the smoke break was invented in part to get the tobacco out of the office and outside. On the other hand, even drug abusers among friends don't typically shoot up on the job site, and they don't expose their neighbors to an opiate if they did.

Cheers, B

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