I recently read an article about our governor wanting to increase the tax on cigarettes at $2 a pack to bring in income of over $346 million every two years for the state's Medicaid fund with 10 percent of the funds for tobacco cessation programs in the hopes of encouraging people to quit smoking.

Well, she can't have both. If people do quit smoking, then the income she expects won't happen because people quit buying.

You might not believe this pertains to you since you don't smoke, but it does. While funds for Medicaid are a good thing, I believe this tax on cigarettes is unconstitutional. What is happening here is that one class of people is being singled out, smokers, which to me is tantamount to a form of prejudice and bigotry that does not belong in government — nor anywhere else for that matter. Who or what will be next?

Many people rely on Medicaid and run the age gamut from young to elderly. If the state needs additional monies for Medicaid, then any taxation, bond or whatever should be evenly spread throughout the state's population — not just one singular group of people. Citizens have rights, and the people who choose to smoke have the right to do so without being penalized.

The last time I looked this is still, more or less, a free country and a free state. My attitude is this: People have absolute no right imposing their moral or ethical standards on anyone else. The majority of us are quite capable of making our own decisions, thank you very much.

Jane Smith

Myrtle Point

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