During the Great Depression, when times were tough and farmers were failing across the nation, back in prior to federally support medical research, Congress passed a bill to create quotas, price support props, for the tobacco industry.
Now, when usage is finally declining (and imports for tobacco products are rising) [meaning the program doesn't work very well anymore] tobacco farmers and their senators have finally agreed to end the existing program, but only in exchange for a $12 billion dollar support program. ARGH!!!!
Tobacco, alcohol, sugar, chocolate, and coffee are all drugs that we voluntarily consume. None of them is a great benefit to our health and all of them cause significant problems with over consumption. It is my recommendation to stop any and all price supports for products in these categories. Don't get me wrong, I love chocolate, sugar, and--on occasion--the over imbibing of alcohol. But as these are all recreational drugs of one sort or another, I strongly disagree with government price supports and protection. Let the market handle these products on their own.
And to the extent that prices might fall, tax them more. I would much rather pay a consumption tax on my recreational drugs than I would on homes or veggies or cars that don't pollute.
For the NY Times article on the original topic, please click here