Philip Morris is complaining about a proposal in the Wisconsin state budget to raise the tax on cigarettes by another $1.25 per pack. In a graphic the company is providing to legislators, the tobacco giant declares, "Enough is enough, even for smokers...."
Currently, a pack costs about $4, about half of which now goes to the government. The state increase, combined with a proposed federal tax hike, could raise the price of a pack to more than $6.
This reminds me of the time my mother bought my two older brothers cartons of cigarettes for Christmas. My brothers had moved out and were living on their own for the first time. They could hardly afford to buy cigarettes. My mother, herself a smoker, thought she was doing them a favor.
Those favors stopped after my grandfather -- also a lifelong smoker -- died of emphysema. My mother eventually quit smoking and I'm sure she regrets the "gift" she gave my brothers that year. Neither one of them has been able to quit their deadly addiction.
This summer, my friend's father was diagnosed with throat cancer, after smoking for decades. He had surgery to remove his voice box, but the cancer had already metastasized. Inoperable tumors are now slowly fracturing his spine. The family is praying for a miracle. Without one, he will surely die.
Maybe the price of a pack of cigarettes is already too high -- not in dollars, but in lives. Maybe enough really is enough.