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Smokers unfairly taxed, should lead a tea party

The Mayo article pushed me over the edge. I'm tired of smokers being shafted by taxes that are unfair; 49 percent of the cost of a pack of cigarettes goes to the government. It's a good thing that smokers are also inactive and emphysemic or we would have a real tea party on our hands. The American Lung and Cancer Society have attacked smokers by blowing up secondhand figures to attack primary smokers through their surroundings, and now they go to the heart of the matter and make a smoker bankrupt themselves for their habit.

Nicotine is the most widely used and addictive substance in America and now, after hundreds of years of its consumption, America has decided to put the irons to anyone foolish enough to indulge in an unhealthy habit. Fine! Let's do it!

But if we're going to persecute someone for making unhealthy choices, then let's not focus on one minority -- the poor. Most smokers are poor and, if they weren't before, they soon will be.)

America makes unhealthy choices every day in a multitude of ways that baffle the rest of the world. How about the soda manufacturers? Let's talk about diabetes and the 24 million Americans who have it. Let's talk about our native American population who has a genetic predilection to it. Let's talk about how a beverage with empty calories and little to no nutritional value affects that. But will a can of Pepsi ever cost $5?

Can we not admit that, if we hold one population accountable for their irresponsible and unhealthy behavior, we have to hold them all accountable? Where's the Whopper tax? You would have to smoke a pack a day for 40 years to equal the same carbon dioxide put out by 24 hours using a vehicle, but the government is not protecting me against that by investing gas taxes into electric vehicle production.

The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $51 billion. Why does a case of Coors not cost $50 at this point? America has enough stupid and unhealthy habits to go around. If we no longer hold everyone equally accountable for their actions, then we are segregating. If we only hold smokers accountable, then we are persecuting. I think it's high time every stupid person pays their share to the pool designed to deal with their damages.

Jeremiah Liend