The continent has most of the world's most poisonous snakes, not only on land but in the ocean. It has the world's largest crocodiles, and one can be devoured by one in or near the ocean or a river, and then out in the surf great white sharks abound. And I haven't even mentioned box jellyfish, blue ring octopi, stone fish, or the red backed and funnel spiders.

If ever a land was saying "Go away, people," it's Australia.

Add to all this that Sydney, strangely, is one of the most expensive cities on Earth and that you're so far from the United States (where everyone wants to go) and why would anyone live there, much less WANT to live there?

So, why are there people in Australia? What explains it?

Yes, and of course I'm being tongue in cheek. I'm sure there are many reasons to risk the many ways to die there.

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Funding for hospitals and medical research, one would like to hope...

Not arguing your choice but why would that be better use of the money than into smoking cessation or prevention programs?


Unseen, I assumed by your use of flourdination that you held the view on faith?

@Norm - You already force a smoker to pay a higher tax than a non-smoker.  This is justified in theory to recompense the 'State' for the additional costs that smoker is causing by smoking.  Forcing the smoker to pay for you to try to make the smoker stop smoking is ridiculous.  If the goal is to have nobody smoke, then ban tobacco. 

But the goal is to raise extra tax which is spent on a multitude of things - it should be spent on health care, because otherwise there really is no justification for taxing a smoker over and above a non-smoker to fund the kind of things that are equally beneficial to both.

How about forcing the smoker to pay for programs to prevent new smokers from starting, or support programs for people like me who have recently quit, but who, if they saw someone walking along the street, smoking, would mug them in a heartbeat for their smokes?

Not disputing your point but would making the smoker pay for the state to make the smoker stop smoking might be justified because of the effects on other citizens or for other reasons agreed on as being reasonable. For example, the criminal (in theory) pays taxes which pay for law enforcement, courts and prisons which may be used to discourage, correct, or block the criminal's activities. Just wondering why you would label that is ridiculous?

I have to pay for many services and controls with which I have no involvement. This is simply the reality of a complex human system.

What is the argument against banning tobacco altogether?  (other than the sudden loss of over $17 billion dollars a year in generated tax)

In that same vein, Norm, about 85% of my property tax goes to my local school system, although I have no school-age children, and will not benefit in any way from those kids getting a better education, as once they do, they'll all move out of the area anyway, to greener pastures.

Actually, AWAY from greener pastures, to the concrete pastures where the real money is.

We tried that with booze during the "Prohibition Era," it didn't work out so well. We 'Mericans don't much like being told what we can and can't do, little Missy --

@Strega - Only a non-American could ask that question. Like archie says, we like our freedom. He's also right about the failure of prohibiting alcohol, though we seem unable to apply the same logic to the ridiculous war on drugs. There are lots of arguments for banning tobacco products, but the day when they'll carry a general election is far off. Long after I'm gone. Not that it would be put up for a general national vote. Things don't work that way in the US. Laws are passed by elected representatives, and while there are those who say their votes are controlled by tobacco interests, the real truth is that our elected Senators and Representatives would probably lose too much voter support to want to pass such legislation. I don't smoke, but I would take as a negative that someone I elected voted to ban tobacco products.

@Unseen - I'm well aware of the idioticy of banning things.  My point was that if you aren't going to ban something, and you are going to raise enormous taxes on that same thing, then it is in your financial interest to have as much income coming in as you can possibly get, whilst superficially attempting to reduce the number of users.

The states currently spend two to three percent of this tax on preventative education and nicotine replacement therapy.  Where does the rest of the 97% go?  I was suggesting it ought to all be spent on smoking related matters, as it is a tax purely on smokers.  However, it seems that this is not the case.  Even if it were to go to some kind of health support across the board, it would be relevant.

My contention is that it is a 'sin' tax, raised for general unrelated purposes.  Let's imagine a chunk goes on a new school.  Now that is a nice thought.  But why should smokers contribute so much more than non-smokers for a school?

An accounting isn't demanded of the state or government for how they spend the 'smoking' tax.  It's paid and accepted, because everyone knows smoking is 'bad'.  That is commonly called a 'sin' tax - the same applies to alcohol tax.  Why should alcohol be taxed higher than other goods?  Does the extra tax go on alcohol related expenses?  No - it's raised because the government can explain it as a way to get people to cut down, but if everyone were to totally stop drinking and smoking, there would be financial mayhem.

The 'banning' question was rhetorical.

Add to the UnOne's comment, the fact that the South was founded on cotton and tobacco plantations - not only do centuries of tradition support tobacco growth as a cash crop, some US economies depend on it. Further, the tobacco industry heavily invests in the campaigns of politicians who support their needs.


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