Ten reasons why you should not buy cigarettes — yahoo voices — voices.yahoo.com

1 Every year, medical problems stemming directly from cigarettes grossed more than 75 billion dollars in costs in the United States. The population of the United States is around 300 million. That means that if every man, woman, and child paid 200 dollars, the entire collection of that money would not cover the medical costs resulting directly from cigarettes. Factor in damages caused by cigarette smoke to bystanders, cigarette damage to one’s own property, fires caused by cigarettes, and other things, and you are looking at around 100 billion dollars or more in damages.

2 Tobacco use is the mostly easily avoidable cause of death in the United States. In the past forty years, cigarette smoking has caused an estimated 4.1 million deaths from cancer, 6 million deaths from cardiovascular disease, 2.2 million deaths from respiratory diseases, and almost one hundred thousand infant deaths resulting directly or indirectly from mothers smoking while pregnant. The cigarette industry is showing no sign of dying any time soon, so we can expect these figures to approximately double in the next half century unless either a major lawsuit takes place or a widespread restriction or ban is set in place all across the country. Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work for extended periods of time increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25 to 30 percent, and their chances of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent.

3 Smoking is extremely expensive. Someone who smokes a pack of cigarettes every day spends over one thousand dollars a year on cigarettes. Two packs a day, two thousand dollars a year. Three packs a day, and you’ll end up probably spending five hundred dollars a year. Why? Because you’re probably dead. With one thousand dollars, you could buy 75 CDs, eat two or three Double Quarter Pounder With Cheeses at McDonald’s a day, for a year (I doubt you’d want to, but still), you could make a down payment on a car, buy a nice computer, feed several starving children in third world countries for a long time, give one (or more) children from a third world country education(s), or countless other things. If nothing else, the addiction wastes your hard earned money. If you make 20 dollars an hour, you’re working an extra 50 hours a year to feed your habit.

4 There are 10.5 grams of tar that end up in your lungs for every standard cigarette you smoke. A 20 a day smoker will end up with 210 grams of tar in their lungs by the end of the day. 1470 grams by the end of the week. Nearly 77000 grams by the end of one year.

5 There are over four thousand known ingredients in cigarettes, many of which are carcinogenic, toxic, or otherwise bad for you. There are forty three known carcinogens in cigarette smoke. Included in these toxins are hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, carbon monoxide, vinegar, many others, and still other unrecognizable ones.

6 Cigarettes cause the chelation of many vitamins and minerals. By smoking, you are actually causing yourself malnutrition by not allowing essential nutrients to stay in your body. I bet millions of dying children in Africa would love to have the luxury of disposing nutrients freely.

7 Cigarette companies spend billions of dollars every year on advertising, slowly, subliminally, always trying to convince you that they can sell you happiness and that you have all the time in the world to barter with. If nothing else, don’t become a victim of an ongoing propaganda war.

8 When you smoke, you’re stunting your potential. Cigarette smokers have an extremely difficult time taking up vigorous (and fun!) sports. Also, cigarette smokers may weaken themselves to the point that they can’t defend yourself. Don’t reduce yourself to such a weakened state. Don’t be a drain on society and make Darwin squirm in his grave, do something with your life.

9 Think of your family. They don’t want to see you die. And if they say they do, ignore them. Unless you’ve done something terrible, they want you to live.

10 Religious reasons as far as I know, most major world religions don’t look kindly upon self harm. And self harm is exactly what smoking is, whether you choose to acknowledge it like that or not.

Don’t smoke. Live a happy, productive, active life. Have as many kids as you need to or want to or can, or don’t. It doesn’t really matter what you aspire to do, but you can’t do it if you’re dead.

Chicago cigarette tax: study shows 75% of chicagoans buy cigarettes out of city

First Posted 05/20/10 01 24 PM ET Updated 05/25/11 05 30 PM ET

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A cigarette tax increase is one source of revenue that legislators often see as win win either people will choose to keep smoking and pay an extra premium for it, or they’ll quit smoking and get healthier. Lawmakers have proposed a $1 a pack tax increase to help resolve Illinois’ budget crisis.

But opponents of the tax worry that smokers will just cross state lines, or buy on the internet, to avoid paying higher taxes. And a new study suggests that a majority of Chicagoans are doing just that.

According to the University of Illinois at Chicago, 75 percent of sampled cigarette packs found on the streets of Chicago come from out of the city, costing roughly $120 million a year in revenues.

Teams of researchers, led by David Merriman, the head of UIC’s economics department, collected littered cigarette packs from 100 neighborhoods in Chicago and the surrounding areas. They found that three quarters of the discarded packs didn’t have a Chicago tax stamp on them.

When the packs were collected in July 2007, state and local taxes on a pack of cigarettes in Chicago totaled $4.05. They were only $1.37 outside of Cook County. This made Chicagoans 60 percent more likely than their collar county counterparts to shirk cigarette taxes.

Merriman acknowledged that the problem of tax avoidance was primarily a Chicago issue, but did not fail to see its public policy implications.

«This research suggests that an increase of $1 per pack in Illinois, as recently proposed, would drive more Chicago residents to buy their cigarettes in Indiana, but would be likely to have a relatively small effect in the rest of the state,» Merriman said.

The fear of sending business to Indiana may poke a hole in the ambitions of state lawmakers hoping to create a budget for the coming fiscal year. With Gov. Pat Quinn’s controversial plan to increase income taxes unlikely to come to fruition, the state is at a loss for new revenues. And cuts to public services like education have been met with vocal opposition.

Legislators have repeatedly argued that a new cigarette tax would help stave off some of those education cuts. But with the General Assembly already on recess and no resolution in sight to the budget mess, this new report may only serve to impede consensus in an increasingly fractious legislature.

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