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There are many good points on both sides of the smoking issue. For me the bottom line is government intrusion. There must be a compromise for both sides. Why can't the nonsmokers visit nonsmoking restaurants? There are plenty; all fast-food eateries are nonsmoking - Ned Kelly's, I'm sure there are more. What about the owner? He's paying the mortgage and he isn't allowed to smoke at his own business?

I don't think folks realize how much tax money is generated by smokers. If most smokers quit because it just isn't worth the hassle, who do you think is going to pick up the tab for lost revenue?

I called a local smoke shop, here is the tax breakdown. Before the cigarettes reach the wholesaler the federal government gets a $2 a carton tax. When the carton is sold at the smoke shop $9.80 goes to the state of Illinois. It doesn't matter what the brand is - the amount differs with each state. Then, when that carton is paid for by the customer, $2.25 is added for sales tax if the carton is generic at about $30 a carton. That tax is more if you are buying a name brand. For a $32.25 cost per carton, $14.05 is tax revenue. I can't think of any other item in this country that generates that kind of revenue.

Carol Sylvester

Bloomington

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