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July 2, 2010 - 12:10pm

New York now boasts highest cigarette taxes in the USA; health officials urge people to quit

posted by Billie Owens in cigarette tax, Smoke Free Now.

Kevin J. Keenan, program coordinator Smoke Free Now in Genesee County, sent along this news release today.

On Thursday, State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., urged New Yorkers to quit smoking rather than pay the additional $1.60 per pack state cigarette tax increase that takes effect today.

With the increase in effect, the tax on a pack of cigarettes will rise to $4.35 per pack and $5.85 a pack in New York City – the highest cigarette taxes in the nation.

This tax continues New York's national leadership in the fight against tobacco use, the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the United States. A pack of cigarettes will now cost more than $10 in New York City and more than $8 across the rest of the State.

"This tax increase should be the motivation smokers need to give up this deadly addiction for good," Commissioner Daines said. "The health benefits of quitting smoking are undeniable.

"Smokers who quit are at a lower risk of developing smoking-related heart disease and suffering from strokes, cancer and emphysema. If you smoke, now is the time to talk to your doctor or call the New York State Smokers' Quitline."

The Quitline offers free services to help people stop smoking, including nicotine patches, coaching, quit plans, information and free online help. To access the Quitline, call 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or visit www.nysmokefree.com.

Taxes will also increase for other tobacco products, such as smokeless tobacco products and cigars, from 46 percent to 75 percent of the wholesale price.

Increases in tobacco taxes are expected to prevent 170,500 New York kids from becoming smokers, motivate 86,100 adult smokers to quit and save 77,000 New Yorkers from premature, smoking-related deaths.

The increased tax will also save $4.8 billion in future health care costs and raise $290 million in 2010-11 in state revenues.

"This is a win-win for the health of New York State," Daines said. "Fewer adults and children will use deadly tobacco products and the state will generate revenues to help sustain important programs and services."

"Smoking is not a habit," said Jeffrey Willett, director of the state's Tobacco Control Program. "It's an addiction, and it's hard to quit. The State Health Department's Smokers' Quitline provides free services that increase the likelihood that a smoker will quit for good."

Smoking Facts

  • On average, smokers die 14 years younger than non-smokers.
  • Smoking increases a person's risk of heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and other cancers.
  • Secondhand smoke also causes heart disease and cancer, and contributes to asthma and other respiratory illness.
  • Infants with a parent who smokes are more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
  • Babies and children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to have asthma, bronchitis, ear infections and pneumonia.
  • Smokers who quit rapidly lower their risk of heart disease and stroke, and steadily reduce their risk of lung cancer.

Tips on Quitting

  • Set a quit date and mark it on your calendar. Get rid of ashtrays, lighters and cigarettes.
  • Visit your doctor for support and advice with your quit plan.
  • Make a list of reasons why you want to quit.
  • Make a list of family and friends who will support you.
  • Avoid triggers, including alcohol, caffeine and other smokers.
  • Exercise to relieve stress, and to improve your mood and health.
  • Consider using a safe nicotine alternative such as replacement patches, gum or lozenges.

For help quitting smoking call the New York State Smokers' Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or visit <www.nysmokefree.com>.

Jeremiah Pedro
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Lot of taxes being collected. Wonder how much the state collects in taxes from the sale of cigarettes. Then that makes me wonder if that money all goes to the general fund where the sticky fingered folks in Albany have access to it.
Chris Charvella
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I might have to quit...for real this time...I mean it.
JoAnne Rock
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"This is a win-win for the health of New York State," Daines said. "Fewer adults and children will use deadly tobacco products and the state will generate revenues to help sustain important programs and services." I wonder if fewer adults and children would use deadly alcohol products and how much more revenue the state could generate to help sustain important programs and services if alcohol products were taxed as much as tobacco? It just sounds hypocritical to me and way beyond the initial justification of being done to protect the public health. Smokers are NY's cash cows and alcohol producers, advertisers, promoters, etc.. are NY's sacred cows.
George Richardson
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A $2 surcharge on an Italian Sausage Sandwich might cause the waitress to get a skimpier tip but it would raise a billion dollars a year for the state coffers, if my mathematical calculations are correct.
Tim Howe
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George, Shhhhhh don't give them any ideas. So help me, if they come up with a "peppers and onions" tax I am hunting you down :)
Chris Charvella
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I won't argue with the fact that if people quit because of this, there will be a cost benefit for health care in NY...sometime in the future. I doubt that the new tax will have as much of an effect on the amount of smokers in the state as we're being led to believe. I insisted that I would quit when cigarettes reached $3 per pack, then $4, then $5, then $6, then $7. Hell, I even got myself some free nicotine patches from the state last year, but I'm still smoking. Maybe they should legalize the pot so I can have something to take the edge off while I'm trying to kick the coffin nails. :)
JoAnne Rock
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I know you say that in jest George, but Health Care surcharges have already begun appearing on restaurant menus across the country. Not so much to benefit the state, directly, but to benefit the businesses trying to comply with the new health care mandates.
JoAnne Rock
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Chris said: Maybe they should legalize the pot so I can have something to take the edge off while I'm trying to kick the coffin nails. :) Talk about second-hand smoke...:)
Tim Howe
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All kidding aside Chris...You can do it!!! I am behind you 100 %. (about quitting smoking not legalizing weed) :)
Bernie Fix
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Where are going to make up all the tax dollars loss if everyone quit today, if people want to smoke thats less tax dollars coming out of my pocket. If you think Health care cost will go down in your life time, your smoking something and it's not legal
Chris Charvella
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Spoilsport.
janien klotzbach
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Ok,so what happens when everyone quits smoking and drinking because of the constant increases? Then where will they gain revenue? Yes smoking is an unhealthy habit, one in which i am trying to quit (for my health, not due to the increase), alcohol consumption unhealthy only if abused, however my thought is...If these things exist but only at a minimum, what will happen to all the beautiful wineries and all the people in which they employ? The factories, the tobacco farm workers and factory workers...the list of who this will affect goes on and on. ...Only saying that where there is a cause there is an effect and an action, there is a reaction. Bottom line is the taxes, NY is not looking to me as a place where i will remain. Hawley is working hard to stop tax increases and/or new ones and I greatly appreciate his efforts. I just don't think that it is fair for anyone to be "habit" taxed, whether it be chocolate, chips, soda or otherwise. There are other options for them to adjust their budget, this I believe is the easy way out.
Dave Olsen
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Out here in Indian Falls and Basom, it means more traffic on Rts 77 & 63 and Ledge Rd (Speeders) and more accidents on Bloomingdale and Ledge Rds. from the people in a big hurry to get their nicotine fix and get back to wherever they came from.
Amber Blaszak
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Dave, I couldnt agree more. That is until Aug, when the state says they ARE collecting taxes from non-indian buyers on the rez.
Gabor Deutsch
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I recommend the Totem Pole. $2.75 a gallon and $15.00 a carton. Don't give me any of that "stealing from small businesses" deal on this one. How bad is taking a job away from a "Native American" ? LOL.
bud prevost
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Gabor said "I recommend the Totem Pole. $2.75 a gallon " Really? I just paid $2.62 a gallon.....in Henrietta at Fastrac! So, how does anyone justify that? Fastrac is also collecting about $.63 in tax for NYS as well. I thought the rez was supposed to be cheap for gas? If there is no tax, there is no reason gas on the rez should be more than $2.25 a gallon. Who's robbing who?
Gabor Deutsch
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The price at the Totem pole was from yesterday afternoon. It is closer than Rochester and you did not address the cigarette price.
Jeremiah Pedro
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I still say that New York state has no right to collect taxes from what is essentially a federal entity. Nor require that same federal entity to collect taxes from non-Indians.
Dave Olsen
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I agree Jeremiah. Anyway I don't know how the state expects to actually enforce the tax collection. I don't believe the people running those smokeshops will collect taxes and write a check to NY State. Stranger things have happened but I don't think so. I don't have a problem with the gas stations and smokeshops making big bucks I just wish the buttheads (pun intended) coming from the Buffalo & Rochester areas along with everywhere in between including Batavia would slow the hell down and stop tossing trash out of their cars. This ain't your backyard.
Bea McManis
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I agree Jeremiah. A treaty is a treaty. nuff said. I also agree with the traffic problem. People speed down the country roads as if they are going to a fire. Ironic, that we all get to the same stop sign at Rt. 77 and wait together for a chance to cross or turn.
terry paine
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www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-04-08-fda-tobacco-costs_N.htm A USA Today article. "A Dutch study published last year in the Public Library of Science Medicine journal said that health care costs for smokers were about $326,000 from age 20 on, compared to about $417,000 for thin and healthy people." Vanderbilt University economist Kip Viscusi studied the net costs of smoking-related spending and savings and found that for every pack of cigarettes smoked, the country reaps a net cost savings of 32 cents. "It looks unpleasant or ghoulish to look at the cost savings as well as the cost increases and it's not a good thing that smoking kills people," Viscusi said in an interview. "But if you're going to follow this health-cost train all the way, you have to take into account all the effects, not just the ones you like in terms of getting your bill passed." According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) smoking in 2000 was the biggest cause of death - 435,000 people died. 18.1% of everyone who died in that year died of a smoking related disease. Obesity (bad diet and no exercise) was the cause of 400,000 deaths. www.freebmicalculator.net/bmi-chart.jpg Everyone agreeing with this tax should check this chart,if your in the blue your tax is next.
bud prevost
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Gabor, I drive, I don't smoke. I am sure you are aware of the contents of seneca cigarettes are not 100% tobacco, that is why so cheap. I think it'd be cheaper if people just smoked pot. No tax on that either, and at least you get some munchies out of it :)
Steve Roth
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The insanity of this state, it's taxes, & what we allow it to get away never cease to amaze me. These "sin taxes" have been around for years & always find a group to pick on. The beer drinkers were a favorite from the past as were those that liked liquor as well. It seems that it's now totally targeted at the smokers.....yes, I smoke. That aside, it seems that soda is now a sin. Fatty foods are in everyone's sights. It seems that whatever the government deems bad for me is subject to tax. What if I feel that your lotto, scratch off ticket, mega millions, & power ball addiction is bad? Can we tax the payouts more by say decreasing the payouts a bit? Don't people suffer from that? Ooops.....I forgot the state runs those things so they can't be a sin......sorry State of New Pork....er, New York....I'm already not allowed to smoke in my house. Can't smoke in the bar either. Can't smoke outside at a Bills game. Basically, I can't smoke anywhere you don't want me to....& it's legal to smoke. Hmmmm.....I can drink at any of those places though. Please get out of my business. We've already seen how you guys screw up your business. Please leave me some amount of liberty in my life. If you don't want me to smoke, outlaw like you tried to do with liquor. We know how well that worked out. Quit picking on smokers. Quit picking on people who eat. Just quit trying to control us.
Howard B. Owens
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Amen.
George Richardson
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I worked with an old black man who always had a tin of Prince Albert and a pack of trash cigarette papers. He complained when Prince Albert went to a pouch, but he still bought it, and those crappy Topps Papers. He's dead now, but you can still buy Prince Albert in a pouch or any other loose tobbaco and a pack of decent papers, and roll your own for a fraction of the cost. Let the cops stop you for smoking a joint, because it's not a joint, it's old school cigarettes on the cheap.
Frank Bartholomew
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N.Y. lost a lot of cigarette taxes today, I was at the Totem pole, and there was a bus there. In the 15 years I have been going there, I have never seen it this busy. Great job lawmakers, now people who used to buy smokes at the convienant stores have been chased to the rez. More lost tax dollars,why do our elected officials screw up everything they get involved in? People were buying 10-15 cartons at a time, probably going back to Buff. and Roch. and reselling for $5 - $6 a pack. More lost taxes. Not bad money, you pay $20 a carton, and resell at $60 a carton.
Gabor Deutsch
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Frank is right. It has been happening for a long time now. They (the reservation) don't have the deals on gas like they used to but the BBQ tank propane and cigarette price is worth the travel. I do support Genesee County. I guess I just don't support N.Y.S. tax when applicable ;D
Mary E DelPlato
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I quit smokin in 2001 then started for personal reasons in 2008. Now I am finding it much harder to put it down and its effect on me is diff then it was in 2001. Is it true there are more chemicals in cigarettes today as opposed to 2001?My Dad smoked for years and he smoked pall mall and didnt really have breathing problems til he switched to merit lights...I also heard the tobacco overseas is much more enjoyable healthwise...as far as death...when my numbers up...I will leave this planet quitting or not what im gonna die from is allready predetermined...but why make life miserable for ppl while theyre here by making it hard for them to enjoy wat they enjoy...even if what they do is bad for u....
Mary E DelPlato
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oh...i wonder if seagull poop would help grow great tobacco plants...
John J. Perry
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it's easy to quit smoking, I've done it hundreds of times." Mark Twain. But seriously, if the state really wanted people to quit, they would put an insurmountable tax on them right from the start. $10 a pack just in tax, if the tax was to persuade people from smoking or convince them they simply can't afford it any longer. The true point of the tax is to cause a little outrage on a segment of society that has been vilified and ostracized for years while increasing tax income as much as possible. And they do this by going after the group of people that no one will have any sympathy for. Smokers are unique inasmuch as their personal freedom to choose to do what they enjoy, even in the privacy in their own home has no protection from anyone except from other smokers. After all smoking is bad for you, so it is even acceptable in polite society to call smokers stupid for smoking. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in our country and smoking isn't the only cause of that. How long before "bad cholesterol" foods are treated the same. Sound silly? Not if politicians can vilify it as they has smoking.
Onofrio A. Perzia
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If you want to get back at New York State and the taxes they charge on cigarettes then Stop Smoking. All the places Steve mentioned that are public places, i.e.: bars, stadiums, arenas, theaters, restaurants, Etc. are far better off without the nuisance and stink of cigarette and cigar smoke. There's a ban on smoking in those places not because the state wants to piss you off, it's because it saves the employees from breathing in those toxins. Second hand smoke is just as harmful as the smoke that you smokers suck in and exhale. Bar and restaurant owners I know actually think the ban is great. They don't like that smell in their clothing, and on their body. It also makes cleaning the establishments easier because they don't have to remove a layer of tar and smoke film on their furniture, windows and and walls. As for not being allowed to smoke at home all I can say is, if you have children, do you want them to breath in that garbage? As for freedom, the vast majority of us can breathe easier now. Smoking isn't really a right it's only a disgusting habit that many of us have had to put up with for too long. By the way, if anyone believes that those who work in establishments where smoking was banned should have left their jobs and find another place to work, then you probably think that that deadly chemicals and other unsafe working conditions are just dandy. Be prepared then for higher numbers of people asking for SS disability payments.
Howard B. Owens
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"There's a ban on smoking in those places not because the state wants to piss you off, it's because it saves the employees from breathing in those toxins. " You don't want to work in a bar with smoking going on, find another job. "Bar and restaurant owners I know actually think the ban is great. " My issue isn't so much with bans in restaurants, but in bars. It's idiotic to ban smoking in bars, but if a bar owner doesn't want smoking in his bar, then he should be free to ban it, without government intervention. If customers want to smoke they'll go elsewhere, and customers who want to drink in a smoke free environment will frequent it. "Smoking isn't really a right it's only a disgusting habit that many of us have had to put up with for too long. " It's unfathomable to me that somebody would say it isn't a right. That's like saying chewing gum or drinking water isn't a right. What? We don't have a personal right to do with our bodies as we choose? I thought the right to control our bodies was enshrined in Roe vs. Wade. It strikes me as the same principle as a violation to a right to privacy that underscores Roe that allows the government to tell somebody they can't smoke. You can't have freedom for one class of people who exercise a choice and deny it another person. Either we all have the same rights to be free in our persons and possessions, or none of us do. Rights are not malleable to fit personal preferences. "By the way, if anyone believes that those who work in establishments where smoking was banned should have left their jobs and find another place to work, then you probably think that that deadly chemicals and other unsafe working conditions are just dandy." Red herring. "Unsafe working conditions" is overly broad to define any reasonable response. There are all kinds of circumstances that justify reasonable rules on industrial environments, and also examples of government overreach. Even as a libertarian I can accept some reasonable restrictions on when and were to smoke, the overall thrust of all smoking is bad in all place is nothing but despotism designed by utopist who think the government can and should solve all problems. The bigger government gets, the more intrusive it becomes, the worse off we are as a nation and a world. Nobody has a right -- especially through the coercion of the government -- to tell another person how to live his or her life.
Onofrio A. Perzia
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First of all, under hospitality law, bars, restaurants, taverns, inns, diners are the same, public establishments. Smoking is a health hazard, as well as it's byproduct, second hand smoke. It is hazardous for the employees of the bar, you obviously don't understand that the right is for the people who are in bars whether patrons or employees. They have a right to breathe air that is not fouled by someone elses disregard of their own health. Being in a public establishment such as a bar, restaurant, theater, arena is the same as being a guest in someone one elses house. Light up in someone elses home and see how long one becomes an unwanted guest. Government passes laws like these to benefit the majority of the people who do not smoke. It's not intrusive, it's the smoker who is the one being intrusive. If someone doesn't like the fact that smoking is banned in restaurants and bars then don't go there. If they want to frequent those places, fine. If they want to smoke, they can, but that place is called outdoors. The employees HAVE the RIGHT to a safe work environment. It's not utopist, it's not government overreach, it's not despotic, and it's not a red herring. What it is, is, that it's about time smokers no longer a privileged class who were allowed to pollute someones work environment or a persons lungs.
Steve Roth
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I guess as I wrote my first comment the anger rose & I may not have made myself clear. Please understand that I will never complain about a smoking ban for indoor public venues EXCEPT a bar. Bars aren't like say a coffee shop. I can take my coffee outside to have a cigarette but if I do that with my beer....well, you know. Truthfully there are very few indoor places I would support smoking. I guess it's the outdoor bans like at Bills games or other public areas that are now "smoke-free". Outside is still outside!!! It's not a close container like a restaurant. Hope that cleared up my thoughts. I have to admit....you guys are starting to get to me. When I'm outside....where I've been forced to go...having my cigarette during a break, you look at me with disgust & shake your head. You embarrass me. Then you smile while Albany taxes me to death for my legal right. I know what I'm doing to myself but it's my right. Can I be disgusted with you when you eat your fast food, eggs & bacon, high sugar soda, or intoxicating beer?? Ooops..omit beer. That usually kills the other person & the drunk lives...... This is an issue of respect. If I respect you, I smoke outside. If you respect me, you don't sneer. If Albany respected anyone, they'd clean up this pile of crap they made this state into & quit overtaxing smokers. I have 3 children......2 live out of state & the other is too young to leave yet. What are the odds? Bet I have a better shot of smoking 20 more years & living than I do of having to travel hours to see my family on the Holidays. That is if I have any money left after I pay for my overtaxed cigarettes. Woah....wait a minute...they're cheaper in North Carolina. Might make the trip worth while.......
Howard B. Owens
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I lived in California when you could still smoke in bars. I often went to bars and enjoyed a cigar and a drink. The vast MAJORITY of people in bars SMOKED. The law banning smoking in bars wasn't in support of the majority who don't smoke. It was against majority who did. "The employees HAVE the RIGHT to a safe work environment." Yes they do. I don't dispute that. They have the right to look for another job or not take a job in a smoking establishment. They do not have the right to demand that a place that allows smoking change its rules. Well, they have the right to request it, but if they don't get their way, they have the right to leave and look for work elsewhere. The anti-smoking crowd is using government to run other people's lives. That's despotic and utopist. BTW: I don't smoke (except for the occasional cigar or pipe). I just believe in freedom.
bud prevost
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As a former bartender that never smoked, I can tell you that rationalizing the big brother tactics of NY in defense of the bar employees is wrong. Even though I didn't smoke, most drinkers did, and I knew that. Now, flash forward through the decade and see how many fewer bars there are. This isn't just a health issue. I agree with Steve. We have turned smokers into outcasts, to be looked down upon. It's really too bad common sense and decency have been overruled and replaced by the Orwellian laws of NYS.
Howard B. Owens
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Bud, you gotta wonder how many fewer jobs there are for bartenders and cocktail waiters with fewer people going to bars because they can't smoke. So much for sticking up for the workers. When the government meddles in the free market, working people are usually the ones who get screwed.
Dave Olsen
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I don't think the smoking ban has been the cause of demise for that many bars. It probably didn't help. I believe it has more to do with the tougher DWI laws. But your last statement, Howard sums it all up for me. "When the government meddles in the free market, working people are usually the ones who get screwed." I'll even add to that if I may: Every damn time.
C. M. Barons
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The death knell for bars was raising the legal drinking age from 18 to 21. Drunk driving enforcement, evolving drinking habits, smoking ban, cut backs in live entertainment, evolving social habits; there are probably umpteen factors that have contributed to the decline of drinking establishments. I doubt any had the overnight impact that raising the drinking age did. Although the introduction of multiple television receivers (AKA Sports Bars) comes close. There is nothing more annoying than attempting to carry on a conversation, competing with TV commentators. How about this for a conspiracy theory? Considering that the American Revolution was begun in colonial taverns- is big brother eradicating drinking establishments to avoid the next revolution?
Howard B. Owens
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First, they came for our booze ...
Onofrio A. Perzia
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After all that's been said against the smoking ban, the reality is that you cannot smoke in a bar, period. Deal with it.
Richard Gahagan
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I deal with it with chew and spit on the floor until someone says that's disgusting. Then I get a spit cup, which is really disgusting, but chicks still dig me.
Lorie Cook
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LOL!
JoAnne Rock
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I wonder where President Obama sneaks off to when he wants to light up?
bud prevost
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I deal with it. I still have many fond memories of Dargans, both working and playing. The smoking ban was a primary contributor to the demise of both the Wiss and Dargans, as well as The Alehouse in Brockport. I guarantee there were plenty more.

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