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View Diary: Republican Candidates Tied To Bush on SCHIP (297 comments)

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  •  Insane taxes on smokers? (4+ / 0-)

    You wouldn't be a smoker, would you?  I treat smoking-related illnesses all day long.  Anything that reduces the number of smokers other than death is fine with me.

    It's not the taxes that are insane.  It's the smoking.

    Don't expect to live in a democracy if you're not prepared to be an active citizen.

    by Dallasdoc on Wed Oct 03, 2007 at 04:49:58 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, insane taxes. (0+ / 0-)

      Something like 50% of cost of a pack of smokes is taxes.

      •  At Least..... (0+ / 0-)

        ....and of course the irony is that we're told "Big Tobacco" are evil predators by profitting PENNIES per pack of cigarettes, yet government has our best interest at heart by profitting DOLLARS per pack of cigarettes.

        •  This is beginning to sound Republican (0+ / 0-)

          Government profiting like corporations??? So then you are against all taxes, right? You realize that there is a difference between individuals pocketing money and society taking it to ensure the common good, right?

          •  Not at All.... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            slynch

            ....but I don't appreciate the hypocrisy of politicians' pretend condemnation of tobacco even as they scheme to nearly triple their already astounding level of revenue flow that product affords them.

    •  I'm Not a Smoker.... (0+ / 0-)

      ....but I'm just as appalled as Onyx at the fascist pseudo-puritanism that the modern-day anti-smoking movement represents.  The consequences of artificially pricing cigarettes way beyond their market value are massively more devastating than the chosen consequences that willing smokers bestow upon themselves

      •  Baloney (3+ / 0-)

        You don't see those consequences every day, obviously.  To call high cigarette taxes "fascist" is preposterous.  It's like saying people who live in fire-prone canyons of Southern California shouldn't have high homeowner's insurance.  

        We all pay for the costs of smoking.  But smokers pay the most:  with their health and often their lives.  The taxes they pay are nothing in comparison.

        Don't expect to live in a democracy if you're not prepared to be an active citizen.

        by Dallasdoc on Wed Oct 03, 2007 at 05:06:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As a Doctor... (0+ / 0-)

          ....I would hope you would realize that the early attrition of smokers REDUCES their lifetime health care bill compared to their nonsmoking peers.  The smoking rate is half what it was two generations ago, yet health care costs keep soaring at unprecedented rates.  Could it have to do with that fact that it's the exploding ranks of geriatrics, and not the diminishing ranks of smokers, who are disproportionately swallowing up health care resources?

          •  As a doctor (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CA Libertarian

            I don't give a shit about what the lifetime costs of taking care of an individual are.  I care about keeping people as healthy as possible as long as possible.  If raising cigarette taxes contributes to that end, I'm all for it.

            You've got some serious ideological blind spots, you know that?

            Don't expect to live in a democracy if you're not prepared to be an active citizen.

            by Dallasdoc on Wed Oct 03, 2007 at 06:14:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Amazing How Quickly You Abandoned.... (0+ / 0-)

              ....your "smokers are bankrupting the health care system" meme and reconfigured your argument to disqualify my ethics.

              •  Uhm, I never made that point (0+ / 0-)

                I've consistently said here that increasing cigarette taxes was good because it would help decrease the number of smokers.  I have not made an economic argument, but a health-related one.

                Nice try, but try reading before you respond.

                Don't expect to live in a democracy if you're not prepared to be an active citizen.

                by Dallasdoc on Wed Oct 03, 2007 at 06:44:42 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  this is the one of the lines (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Miss Blue, Dallasdoc, Cynical Copper

          Mark27 has been peddling for a week now. The data says otherwise... we are talking modest and manageable increases in health care costs if everyone stopped smoking (eventually) with a short term drop to boot.

          I've given him references from MIT and NEJM, but that doesn't stop him from repeating this nonsense in hopes someone will believe him. After all, if he believes it, and keeps keep repeating it, it must be true, right?

          This is the same poster who called second hand smoke "biggest hoax perpetrated on the public since we were told the Earth was flat".

          Facts and the surgeon general's report mean nothing to Mark27 when he's on a roll.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Wed Oct 03, 2007 at 05:26:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yikes! I Got a Stalker! (0+ / 0-)

            I don't know whether to be flattered or to file for a restraining order. ;)

            •  since you like to hang out in my diaries (3+ / 0-)

              I feel that a proper host should recognize and acknowledge the guests. ;-)

              Especially when I've seen the same misinformation presented over and over, it's pretty relevant to post.

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Wed Oct 03, 2007 at 05:35:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  The extent of second hand smoke damage is a haox. (0+ / 0-)

            Occasional exposure to small amounts of second hand smoke aren't going to hurt anyone. Living with a smoker isn't as bad as being a smoker, but can kill you.

            •  Typical smoker rationalization (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Miss Blue, Dallasdoc

              You're as bad as the global warming denial movement.

              The scientific evidence is compelling and damning - and overwhelming.

              Sigh.

              Do not ever say that the desire to "do good" by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives. - Ayn Rand

              by CA Libertarian on Wed Oct 03, 2007 at 05:36:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Isn't It Possible??? (0+ / 0-)

                ....to believe one and not the other.  When you look at those funding the studies on secondhand smoke (cough, insurance companies), it's hard to deny a vested interest in presenting the most bombastic case possible against secondhand smoke.

            •  read the surgeon general's report (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Miss Blue, Dallasdoc

              and check your local American Lung association. You are just flat out wrong on the facts.

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Wed Oct 03, 2007 at 05:38:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The Same Surgeon General's Report.... (0+ / 0-)

                ....showed the cancer risk from secondhand smoke is a statistically insignificant 0.3% higher than no risk at all.  To put that in perspective, the grill you probably cooked your dinner on last weekend raises your cancer risk by 0.9%.

                •  cancer risk is but one of many (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dallasdoc

                  smoking hazards including emphysema and heart disease. In the case of second hand smoke, also known as environmental tobacco smoke or ETS, the conclusion is that it is a health hazard.

                  especially because we are talking about children, this is froma  respected medical source called UpToDate:

                  There is an extensive list of adverse effects that various groups have concluded are causally associated with exposure of infants and children to SHS. Exposure to SHS has been found to be a cause of slightly reduced birth weight, lower respiratory illnesses, chronic respiratory symptoms, middle ear disease, reduced lung function, ever having asthma among children of school age, and the onset of wheeze illness in early childhood [5]. Maternal smoking has been characterized as a major cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), as has exposure to SHS generally. The conclusions of the other recent reports, including those from the California Environmental Protection Agency [15] and the United Kingdom's Scientific Committee on Tobacco [13] are similar.

                  "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                  by Greg Dworkin on Wed Oct 03, 2007 at 05:56:10 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  more (SHS is second hand smoke) (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dallasdoc

                  Multiple public health reports in the US and elsewhere have identified specific health risks associated with SHS in children [10-12]. These reports describe the following specific risks for children, each of which is discussed in detail below.

                     * Prematurity and perinatal mortality
                     * Slightly reduced birth weight
                     * Sudden infant death syndrome
                     * Lower respiratory illnesses
                     * Chronic respiratory symptoms
                     * Reduced lung function
                     * Middle ear disease

                  Quality of life and costs — The morbidity associated with ETS exposure is a significant public health issue for children that affects both quality of life and healthcare costs. As an example, the 1991 U.S. National Health Interview Survey (including 17,448 children) found that children who were exposed to SHS had, on average, two more days of restricted activity, one more day of bed confinement, and 1.4 more days of school absence than did those who were not exposed, even after controlling for age, socioeconomic status, race, sex, and family size [19]. Analysis of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (including 5,400 United States children aged 4 to 16 years) showed an association between high cotinine levels and wheezing, increased school absence, and reduced lung function [20].

                  "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                  by Greg Dworkin on Wed Oct 03, 2007 at 05:57:53 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  He's always on diaries (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dallasdoc

            That deal with tobacco issues and anything remotely related to them.  I think Mark27 is an employee of big tobacco and I'm surprised nobody else has noticed this.  I've seen him around for months.

            •  Actually.... (0+ / 0-)

              ....alot of people have accused me of that, but I'll let you think you were the one to "uncover my sinister secret" if it makes you feel better. ;)

              When you consider that every level of government has been mortgaging its financial future on tobacco taxes in the last five years, it's fast becoming the most important domestic issue in the country.  It's a shame that everybody isn't talking about it as much as I am.

          •  in fact, the second hand smoking research (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mark27

            is a joke.  I've read it.  I'm a researcher.  The design of the studies is poor and the work has been produced with a clear agenda in mind.  In one study (it's been a while since I looked at it), wives of smokers were found to have 'significantly' higher rates of smoking-related illnesses than nonsmoking wives.  Sounds consistent with the second-hand smoking view these days, right?  WRONG.  There was no difference in health between the smoking and nonsmoking men!  That suggests an odd sample, but this isn't considered, because the researchers had a clear agenda.

            The fact is that smoking is overrated as a public health problem.  Poverty is a bigger problem.  Obesity is a bigger problem.  In model after model I've estimated, being a racial minority (other than Asian) ALWAYS has a bigger effect on health than smoking.

            Smoking has received attention in this country only because it is a behavior that we can blame on the individual.  European countries have much higher rates of smoking and much better health.  Our health problems do not primarily boil down to smoking.

            As for whether tax increases reduce smoking, in fact, the jury is still out on that one.  Some evidence suggests it does, but NOT AMONG THE POOR.  So, tax increases tend to be highly regressive.

            •  not a joke (0+ / 0-)

              Sorry. the children's data is solid enough that the precautionary principle applies. "I'm a researcher" doesn't decide the issue.

              i'm not arguing whether cig taxes are regressive. that was not a dem idea, it was an isisted R idea. get more dems if you want to change it.

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 07:53:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  and for brevity's sake (0+ / 0-)

              I will stand with the american cancer society, the American Lung Association, the American Thoracic Society, the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, The American College of Chest Physicians, the American Acaademy of Pediatrics and countless others.

              Your opinion is actually a rather iconoclastic one, not to minimize what you said about other risks. Good to know you're a researcher. Provide data and links to convince.

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 07:58:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  well, it is an iconoclastic opinion. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                DemFromCT

                but, simply because a view has garnered lots of support doesn't make it right.  I'd be happy to share some info with you, including some of my own findings using representative national level US data collected over a 20 year span (when I get some time to dig some of it up).  But, for starters, try this:

                http://www.obscurious.co.uk/...

                This is one of the studies used to support the second-hand smoking thesis.  The effects reported were not statistically significant, and the sample is suspect as well (the smoking limits are very low).  Also, contrary to the view that second-hand smoking is bad, in fact, one of the only statistically significant results is that children of smokers actually appeared to BENEFIT from second-hand smoke.

                Now, this whole issue really got kicked-off by an EPA report from ’93.  That report was a joke.  The EPA conducted a meta-analysis on using only the 30 most damning studies against second-hand smoke.  Only FIVE of them had statistically significant results to begin with, but aside from that, selecting particular studies for inclusion in a meta-analysis is a completely inappropriate methodology.

                I got these links from this website--http://www.davehitt.com/facts/epa.html—but I’ve actually read these reports (excerpts of the EPA report) and others before.  Like I said, I am a health researcher, and I take research seriously.  I don’t simply pass-off what others claim to be true as the truth.  So, I don’t really care what the AHA or other groups say—that’s an appeal to authority fallacy.

                As for the precautionary principle, gee whiz.  Like I said, there are lots of things more dangerous than smoking, and especially second-hand-‘smoking.’  To apply that principle against second-hand smoking especially suggests we should possibly ban every substance we ingest into our bodies, including not only food and water, but also most pharmaceuticals.  The fact is the data on second hand smoke is weak.

                Anyway, my main complaint is that I’m tired of the anti-smoking drumbeating.  I’m tired of the finger pointing in which people try to blame individuals for their own health problems and use that as justification for denying health care coverage.  Contemporary study after contemporary study is showing that our health behaviors actually have far less impact on our health than most people think.

              •  btw, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                DemFromCT

                I don't work for a tobacco company, and I'm not a smoker.  I am a former smoker, and I do smoke cigars (but not inside).

                And, I don't think smoking is good for anyone.  just that it has received an undue amount of attention.  It is unjustifiable the way American society has come to treat smokers as a pariah and has justified tax increases on their addiction with a holier-than-thou attitude.  Why don't we tax obesity?  An extra $1 per day per pound overweight.  How about a larger tax on alcohol?  etc. etc.  

                •  i think you're rather far out of the mainstream, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  slynch

                  myself. I am unimpressed with the authority fallacy, particularly when it comes to 'I am a researcher' ;-)

                  That's why I wanted links, and I appreciate them. I am very aware of the clinical research with smoking and kids (less so with smoking and adults, not my area of interest) and I will check your links, but will tell you peer reviewed studies disagree with you markedly, and it isn't an authority fallacy to say so.

                  Cheers!

                  "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                  by Greg Dworkin on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 06:17:48 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  yeah, I agree (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    DemFromCT

                    about the 'I am a researcher' being an appeal to authority also.  But, I'm not alone at all in what I'm saying--virtually everyone I know who does health research would tell you the same thing: the case for second-hand smoking's effects have been overstated.  

                    But, most folks are't going to spend their time paddling uphill trying to publish papers saying so, because it isn't PC and not generally worth the trouble trying to get people to think a little deeper about an issue they think is settled.

                    Plus, it's extremely difficult to get papers published claiming a nonfinding. From an academic standpoint, there's a vested incentive in finding a relationship between x & y, because a paper generally won't get published if there isn't one.  So, even though there are papers out there showing a link between shs and health, you can't gauge how many studies have been done but aren't published because there was no finding.  (This is a philosophy of science issue I'm actually interested in that is broader than this particular issue)

                    Finally, of course, few are going to try to publish papers showing that the claimsmakers are overstating their claims, especially if the claim is partially right.  There is no benefit to doing so, unless one can show that the overstatement is placing an undue burden on some subset of the population--in this instance, I think it is, but, frankly, most people don't care about the poor nor about smokers.

                    •  they do care about their kids and themselves (0+ / 0-)

                      i.e. they are the second hand in second-hand smoke ;-P

                      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                      by Greg Dworkin on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 06:16:23 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  I think the... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    DemFromCT

                    metaphor I was looking for was "paddling upstream" not "uphill"

                  •  I can't believe I (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    DemFromCT

                    just called that a metaphor. geez. long day.

      •  Do smokers pay higher Medicare taxes? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Miss Blue, Dallasdoc

        No, of course you don't.  I subsidize your self-destructive habit.

        So stop bitching about the taxes on your addiction and quit.

        Do not ever say that the desire to "do good" by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives. - Ayn Rand

        by CA Libertarian on Wed Oct 03, 2007 at 05:33:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  First of All, Not a Smoker.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          slynch

          ....so you've already jumped the shark.

          Smokers pay Medicare taxes their whole lives but don't live long enough to collect them.  That's why they are slowing the pending bankruptcy of Medicare in an era where the growing ranks of nonsmokers are living longer and longer lives on the taxpayers' nickel.

        •  mark27 is right (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mark27

          In fact, a JAMA study from three or four years ago showed that Medicare costs for smokers is about $10,000 less than for nonsmokers.  

          I can't stand the sanctimonious attitude of nonsmokers.  If you drive a car getting less than 30 mpg, wear clothing by certain namebrand companies, eat meat, are fat, etc. etc., then take a look in the mirror.  You're as big of a problem as a smoker is.

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