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Queens Chronicle

No more smoking regs

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Posted: Thursday, September 26, 2013 10:30 am

Dear Editor:

“Two new smoking bills may be voted on soon” (by Andrew Johnson, Sept. 19, multiple editions) will only result in organized crime taking advantage of this new opportunity if you raise the age to 21 for legal consumption of tobacco.

Organized crime prospers even more each time government adopts higher taxes on cigarettes. The underground economy continues making even more money selling tobacco products. New York State continues to lose tens of millions of dollars in uncollected tax revenues, on top of what is already lost on a yearly basis. This happens every time so called “sin” taxes on the legal purchase of cigarettes have been increased. Watch for an increase in the growth of street corner cigarette sales known as “loosies” two for $1.

Consumption of tobacco has been part of America for generations. That’s despite the best efforts of government to limit consumption via excessive taxes and smoking restrictions, just like alcohol prohibition in the 1920s — both have been total failures.

Creative entrepreneurs will always provide what the citizens desire, regardless of government approval. Consumers have voted with their dollars, making tobacco consumption a multibillion dollar enterprise today.

Our tax dollars would be better used if police and judges spent more time prosecuting those who commit real crimes against individuals or property than going after those who distribute “loosies.”

At 18, you are old enough to vote, be a parent, pay taxes, own a car, take out a bank loan, serve in the military and die for your country — but not consume tobacco? Makes no sense.

Larry Penner
Great Neck, LI

Welcome to the discussion.