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Cigarettes Can Kill

I don't usually disagree with James Taranto's Best of the Web, but then again, he's not usually so way off-base. Taranto writes:

Michael Bloomberg's New York

High cigarette taxes may be deadlier than secondhand smoke. "A bootleg cigarette war in Brooklyn has claimed the lives of at least three people since the summer," reports the New York Daily News. "With city and state taxes boosting the price of cigarettes, hundreds of streetwise hustlers are selling cheap tax-free smokes--an illegal but lucrative trade that is becoming nearly as cutthroat as dealing drugs."

The most recent victim of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's antismoking crusade: 19-year-old Cody Knox, who was buried Tuesday, "two weeks after he was chased by two fellow bootleggers and fatally stabbed because he was undercutting cigarette prices by a buck, stealing his rivals' business."

Now I'm no fan of higher taxes, but come on. This kid wasn't killed because of higher cigarette taxes. This kid was killed because a couple of no-good thugs killed him. Let's assume that cigarettes were being given away for free on every corner, thus ending the illicit tobacco trade. Anyone willing to kill over a few bucks a pack would sadly have found another outlet for their violent tendencies. Like say, shooting a few unfortunate bodega owners. Who by and large manage to cope with price competition without resorting to murder!


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 16, 2003 4:17 PM.

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