Having lost both parents and my boss to smoking-related illness, I am obviously on the anti-smoking side of our politics. But increasing taxation is what we always do, thinking it will solve problems. Not only does it not solve problems, it increases bureaucracies that do little to help and are almost impossible to get rid of. But we feel like we are helping. Nonsense.
What we need to do is make the availability of cigarettes more difficult but not impossible.
First, stop allowing the sale of tobacco in supermarkets, liquor stores, gas stations, etc.
Second, license designated shops in indoor malls with lots of parking and make people go out of their way to purchase tobacco.
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Third, limit the amount people can buy at any one time.
Fourth, if you want government regulation, make users carry an identification card like the medical marijuana card.
Fifth, ban vape and nontraditional products.
Finally, make it a severe felony to supply minors with tobacco. It is currently a minor fine (no pun intended): $200 for first offense; $1,000 for a third offense.
Taxation will unfairly burden the poor and elderly. Let’s think outside the box, folks!
Norm Chase, Fresno