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Feb-15-2007 09:46printcomments

Op Ed:
Cigarette Tax Buys Back
A Healthy Future for Oregon Kids,
Eases Pain For Those-Addicted

Oregon’s Original Plan Perverted, Needs Reversal NOW

cigarette deaths graph
Graph: CDC.org

(SALEM) - THIS is NOT your ordinary tax-hike, former Gov. Barbara Roberts declares, but “A taxing means to a healthier Oregon”.

She “tells it true”, for me-and-you to understand more completely, in her Edit Page piece Thursday (2/8) in The Big O.

Oregon is THE ONLY STATE in the nation to lower its tax on cigarettes in the LAST TEN YEARS.

Roberts, for decades a respected voice in Oregon --not only for political savvy but for old-fashioned household common sense--totalizes the tremendous dollar-draining damage done by tobacco addiction among ALL Oregonians; with special/attention to those surely by now recognized as the most vulnerable advertising targets for those who deem the dollar worth more than the doomed human lives-affected: Oregon’s always-vulnerable teens-and-younger.

“Tobacco is still the No.1 preventable cause of death in Oregon”, Roberts tells us. “Nearly 40 percent of Oregon Health Plan patients are smokers, costing taxpayers nearly $260 million in 2002 alone...creating huge health problems and thousands of deaths.”

Roberts points out that inescapable public records document in depth and detail (and also in deaths-avoided!) precisely what prevails when smokers find themselves facing higher costs --more of them quit, many others smoke less, and some few recover completely from this health-and-death/threatening public poisoning.

Oregonians in 1946 knew, understood and strongly approved the great need-then for practical-action to prevent seduction into half/breathing life-in-limbo for further generations of our progeny.

They began their counter-attack with Measure 46, soon to prove its potent impacts via a FORTY-TWO PERCENT decline in consumption, almost TWICE the national average.

SO we KNOW the Oregon Tobacco and Education Program works -and saves millions in otherwise inevitable healthcare costs, too.

But that Program fell prey to the same persistent perversion by impotent funding as nearly all other State programs.

Political-cult/cabal pressures, combined with ongoing lavish laying-on of lobbyists’ hands, had much to do with that denigration of dollars.

At the same time particular and peculiar further-pressures were underway to make sure nothing was done to deal decently with those captured by consistent addiction --despite their often-desperate self-applied remedies and seekings for some relief.

That effort continues according to a study from Harvard citing an ELEVEN PERCENT higher level of nicotine in current offerings of these “death-sticks” -- old Army-talk from World War I !!

Ironic fact: The fine old man of tobacco influence in the Oregon Legislature, Bill Linden, finally succumbed to lung cancer complications after a lifelong addiction to cigarettes.

Why not wipe out one more level of malign manipulation by making every sale of such murderous product rationally and reasonably share in providing the very funds essential to assist those so addicted?

Those working on this one might wish to call the legislation it will take by a very telling name: Oregon’s Bill Linden Law.

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thanks Henry et al; February 15, 2007 6:18 pm (Pacific time)

the BATF is a govt. sponsored mafia and people dying using their "licensed" products don't mean a thing to them unless the product has been imported, or payed no taxes upon sale, or administrative fee to allow sales. Open your eyes people!, this stuff kills us!, and makes the rich even richer., and the accumulated "benefits" in generated tax dollars is blood money from the dead and those getting ready to die! Vote right on this one.,the tobacco industry can stick their Camels up their ..,?

Henry Ruark February 15, 2007 5:09 pm (Pacific time)

Missed crediting Steve Duin for his extremely sensitive and fair column pointing out irony of Bill Linden's memorial service on the very week the House Revenue Committee heard testimony on this essential bill. Duin piece ran 2/11, and your effort to unveil via 'Net on Big O website is very much worth it...it is a classic in clear and kind statement while facing facts fulfilling a whopping irony most meaningful in Oregon right now.

Henry Ruark February 15, 2007 11:40 am (Pacific time)

"See also" $350,000-yrly lobby-lavishing in other cig-tax story-comment. IF about-same for past ten years, with tax lowered et al, that's $3.5 million maundered away for murder-stick more-ness across whole state.

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