Smokers’ Reprieve

Published December 13, 2007

Regarding the Chronicle’s Oct. 18 article “House fails to override child health care veto”: George W. Bush’s veto of the children’s health bill was sustained, but the victory for smokers will probably only be temporary.

In this preliminary victory for the much-maligned cigarette smokers (and all Americans who value their few remaining freedoms, as well), puffers have dodged the congressional excise-tax bullet. With the defeat of their planned veto override, the taxers and spenders who masquerade as saviors of America’s children have had a momentary comeuppance.

The unintended beneficiaries of Bush’s rejection of incremental federalized health insurance were the smokers who were expected to enhance state child insurance coffers to the tune of $35 billion while aggressively avoiding new cigarette taxes via Internet and black markets for tobacco products.

The national war of attrition against cigarette smokers is reducing the rights of individuals to assemble peacefully in open-air public venues, as well as private homes, if they smoke. This effort to criminalize tobacco products is not likely to change — regardless of who wins the beauty contest on Election Day 2008.

Bush should be commended for doing the right thing, even if it temporarily benefits an endangered minority — the smokers.

Ralph W. Conner ([email protected]) is local legislation manager for The Heartland Institute.