Study Targets Master Settlement Agreement, Prop. 303 Tax Hike, Tempe Smoking Ban
Phoenix, AZ-In a study released today by the Goldwater Institute, Cato Institute constitutional scholar Robert A. Levy concludes that Arizona's tobacco policies are "paternalism at its worst, without regard for personal liberty or private property," and urges Arizonans not to "sacrifice cherished rights in order to wage war on cigarettes."
In "Arizona's Anti-Tobacco Crusade: Smoke Free or Free to Smoke?" Levy presents three findings with regard to Arizona's tobacco policies:
- The 1998 Master Settlement Agreement is a deceitful bargain. Levy argues that the multistate settlement between the industry and the states allows the tobacco giants to monopolize cigarette sales and gives Arizona's politicians a direct stake in the financial health of the cigarette companies.
- Voters should reject Proposition 303. Tobacco taxes already take in more money than is necessary to cover smoking-related public health expenditures. Furthermore, raising cigarette taxes by 60 cents per pack would lead to increased smuggling and black market activity, lucrative opportunities for organized crime, and higher demand on law enforcement resources. Levy also argues that cigarette taxes are regressive, resulting in a wealth transfer from generally poor smokers to more affluent nonsmokers.
- Tempe voters should repeal the Proposition 200 smoking ban. Tempe's ban prohibits smoking in restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, billiard halls, stadiums, and even some outdoor patios and sidewalk cafes. The ban was driven by the notion that environmental tobacco smoke poses substantial health risks, despite scientific findings to the contrary. Worse still, Levy argues, the ban violates the property rights of Tempe business owners, who alone have the right to determine whether or not to allow smoking on their property.
Members of the press can contact Levy at (202) 789-5253.
The study is available online here.
For a copy of the study, contact Tom Jenney at (602) 744-9603.</