A Brief History Of: Sin Taxes

Antismoking advocates tout this month's record increase in the federal cigarette-tax rate, which on April 1 spiked from 39¢ to $1.01 per pack, as a move that will bolster the federal budget while saving an estimated 900,000 lives. Supporters say the measure will stop 2 million kids from lighting up and spur about 1 million adults to quit, but the sharp hike has some smokers fuming. Cigarette taxes, detractors argue, are a way for governments to line their coffers by legislating personal choice--and a prime example of a regressive "sin tax," the term often used for fees tacked on to popular...

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