Got to Thinking About Cigarette Taxes, especially in KY.

I’m not a smoker.  I’ve never been one.  The reason was simple enough.  My Dad had to quit smoking.  Dad had smoked so damn much he had nicotine poisoning.  He was given a choice by his doctor back in 1962:  quit smoking or die.  However, because most of my relatives smoked cigarettes, I remember ashtrays being available during weekend family poker games.  

Even with all the smoke, I could tell my family loved getting together.  Nothing unusual with smoking.  All had blue collar jobs of some type — no real college education between family members, except for one of Dad’s brothers.  In other words, typical working class group that got together on the weekend.  The vice of choice was poker games or going to the race track.

There were no smoking bands, not until much, much later.  

Anyway, my point is that smoking was considered a middle class or working class of thing.  And what is left of the working class continues to smoke.  In fact, here is a break down of cigarette use by state and demographics from the CDC:

By Race/Ethnicity3

Race/Ethnicity
Prevalence
American Indian/Alaska Natives (non-Hispanic)
31.8%
Asians (non-Hispanic)
9.0%
Blacks (non-Hispanic)
16.5%
Hispanics
10.7%
Multiple Races (non-Hispanic)
25.2%
Whites (non-Hispanic)
16.6%

There are not are not of lot of Native American tribes in KY.  And I am not up on how many multiple race people there in in KY, but I doubt it is as high as in that table.  But another estimate on Kentucky is the overall cigarette use is 26.0% vs the national average of 15.5%.

And what is the education level of smokers:

By Education3

Education Level
Prevalence
Less than high school
24.1%
GED
40.6%
High school graduate
19.7%
Some college
18.9%
Associate degree
16.8%
Undergraduate degree
 7.7%
Graduate degree
 4.5%

If I have read this data table properly. only 12.2% of smokers have a college degree or higher.  That means that 77.8% of smokers have associate degrees or less education.  

YEAH!  Don’t MOST Trump supporters only have a high school degree or have not finished college?  I believe I might be correct in that statement, but if anyone else finds other statistics to prove me wrong, please share them.

What about economics and smoking?

By Poverty Status3

Income Status
Prevalence
Below poverty level
25.3%
At or above poverty level
14.3%

OH that does not look good.  Almost half of all smokers are broke.  And I do recall another sobering statistic:  several very poor counties in Kentucky are  filled to the brim with Republican voters.  These same poor Republicans gave Trump his highest vote totals in the state of Kentucky.

And now the state legislature is planning on introducing tax increases on such things as cigarettes and opioid drugs.  

Normally, I would say this is a plan for political suicide.  It took decades for Kentucky to elect a Republican Governor after the last Republican Governor (Nunn) promised he would NEVER support an increase in the state sale tax.  He broke that promise, and a Republican was not elected until the 21st Century.  This plan to help the state budget out and “fix” education with regressive tax increase sure looks like something then Governor Nunn did.  On top of those premium increases in the ACA, and I’d say that many Kentucky Trump supporters — along with the rest of us — are going to get the shaft.

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