Steep South Carolina cigarette tax likely in 2009

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It seems South Carolina will no longer be a destination for thrifty smokers in search of cheap cigarettes.

A recently released poll showed that 75% of state voters were in favor of a cigarette tax increase. Where the extra revenue would wind up is still a question, but most voters are pushing to spend it on health care.

Voters showed indifference over how much the tax should be -- whether 50 cents or as high as 93 cents -- spurring lawmakers to make the tax a top legislative issue.

South Carolina ranked last in the country in government sponsored anti-smoking expenditures in 2008.

With an increased tax and more money spent on anti-smoking campaigns, South Carolina’s tobacco-related numbers might drop -- right now, we rank 11th in the nation for the number of smokers in the state.

The State ran the article Wednesday, stirring some readers to comment.

Of course smoking is a divisive issue, but so far my favorite comment on the piece by user "Don R" reads as thus:

Why tax one segment of society and put the money into the health care budget that's full of fraud and abuse. That's right, no one has the nerve or the you know what to do anything about it. You would lose voters. I have an idea....lets tax people for being obese. What a concept!!! Just look around the state of South'll have a surplus of millions of dollars. Oh thats right, that would also take some gonads which none of our jellyfish politicians have.