- Days left

Middle East terrorism: Now fueled by nicotine

×
Emphysema, heart disease, lung cancer, necrosis, crib death, bad smells...smoking has been accused of causing an almost endless list of problems. Recently, however, New York's outrageous taxes have added a fresh one: funding terrorism.

Because of recent tax increases, cigarettes currently cost approximately $9 a pack in New York city. On the other hand, they cost roughly $3 a pack when purchased at Indian reservations on Long Island. For years, New Yorkers have used reservations to help fund their habits by purchasing cartons of cigarettes, either in person or via the internet. The recent tax hike, however, has made cigarette smuggling an easy and relatively safe way to make a lot of money.

According to a recent report, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is currently investigating over 300 smuggling rings that are purchasing cigarettes from Indian reservations or southern states with lower taxes and reselling them in New York City. Some of these smugglers supposedly have links to Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al Qaeda.

In an opinion piece in the New York Post, Congressman Peter King (R-NY) cited the case of cigarette smuggler Mohamad Hammoud, who allegedly made $8 million from 2000-2002 and donated $100,000 to Hezbollah. Congressman King noted that the operational cost of the 9/11 airstrikes was approximately $500,000, a sum that could be generated with only a few cigarette runs. Of course, from the perspective of international terrorists, this is a win/win situation: if the Camels don't get ya, the fundamentalists will.

While I'm sure that cigarettes will end up bearing the brunt of outrage over this issue, it might be a good idea to look beyond the obvious. Congressman King is calling for a repeal of the "forebearance" that allows Indian reservations to sell cigarettes without charging tax. As a student of history, I feel like we've cheated the Indians enough, but I agree that something must be done about this. May I humbly suggest that we stop using cigarette taxes as a way of dictating our health policy, try to treat smokers like humans and, perhaps, find another way of filling our public coffers?

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. As a former smoker, he doesn't like the smell of cigarettes, but tries to not be a jerk about it!

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Goal Setting

Want to succeed? Then you need goals!

View Course »

Economics 101

Intro to economics. But fun.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Video: How to Claim the Affordable Care Act Premium Tax Credit (Obamacare)

The Affordable Care Act Premium Tax Credit is a new refundable tax credit that can lower your monthly health insurance premiums. If you qualify for the tax credit, you can claim the Premium Tax Credit throughout the year to lower your monthly health insurance premiums, or claim the credit with your tax return to either lower your overall tax bill or increase your tax refund.

Cities With the Highest and Lowest Taxes

Geography has a lot to do with personal finance, and where you live in the United States has an impact on your annual tax burden. While federal income taxes are assessed in a consistent manner coast to coast, state and municipal taxes, such as sales and property taxes, vary widely.

When the IRS Classifies Your Business as a Hobby

If your business claims a net loss for too many years, or fails to meet other requirements, the IRS may classify it as a hobby, which would prevent you from claiming a loss related to the business. If the IRS classifies your business as a hobby, you'll have to prove that you had a valid profit motive if you want to claim those deductions.

Hurricane Sandy Tax Relief

Several tax provisions were put in effect to help taxpayers who live or do business in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy - but a number of those provisions expired on Feb. 1, 2013.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum