Money: April 2009 Archives

Vice Patrol

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cigarette_butt.jpgRecent legislation has pushed cigarette taxes higher nationally as well as in Cook County. Two weeks ago, a pack of Camel Filters might have cost anywhere between $7 and $8. Now a pack is pushing $9. With some of the income being used to pay down Medicaid debt, it's hard to argue against this tax increase on what is essentially a luxury item.

What effects will this price increase have on smokers? Certainly some (hopefully myself included) will use this as an opportunity to quit or cut back, immediately benefiting both wallet and lung capacity. Others will look elsewhere for their fix-- in the collar counties and Indiana in particular.  These factors combined may well decrease revenue for the state.

In other public health related news, apparently KFC (as in the fried chicken joint) is offering to repair Chicago's potholed roads in exchange for some advertising space -- spray painted onto the repair. Mayor Daley is entertaining the offer but holding out for some cash incentives.

There's a lot to think about here-- personal and public health, state revenue, freedom of bodily autonomy, the relationship between corporations and civic space... Do you think the cigarette price jump will significantly affect anything? Will people just buck up and pay the extra money for convenience? What about a private corporation doing the job of a city or state bureau? Can we stand any more advertisements invading our space? 

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