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Smokers Educating Smokers


A Call for Reasonable Tobacco Taxes
What is the best use of your tax dollars?
What About the Children?
Read More (Links)
I'm a Non-smoker - What Can I Do?
Our Objectives
Contact Your Governor
Brands to Buy
Who Are We?
What Can I Do?
What is the MSA?
The "I Quit" Letter
Brands to Boycott
Nonprofit Organizations
Activist Tools

Why boycott the MSA brands?


  • Because each year these companies pay the states millions of dollars based on per pack sales – this is in addition to what you already pay in federal and state tobacco taxes.  That's alot of money flowing out of your pocket.

Why not boycott all manufactured cigarettes?

  • Many new companies were not in business in 1998 when the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) was signed. The few that were in business were not invited to the settlement talks - the big companies dictated the terms of the agreement to the little guys.  We're not trying to punish anyone - we just want fair and reasonable taxation.
  • The states are to receive $206 billion (yes that is billion with a capital B) over 25 years.  The states do not think that is enough and they keep increasing the excise taxes (basically, a duty on cigarettes because they’re cigarettes) on cigarettes every time they want more money.  Everytime your legislature goes into session, you can bet there's someone who wants to raise cigarette taxes.
  • The states were supposed to use this massive MSA revenue to care for sick smokers and pay for cessation and education classes.  Instead, most states have simply added the MSA (Master Settlement Agreement) payments into the General Fund, where they can spend the money however, they wish.  They are using the MSA money in ways it was never designed to be used.  They have spent millions on non-tobacco related pet projects that have nothing to do with health care or quitting smoking.
  • But wait, you say!  Aren't smokers responsible for the nations’ runaway health care cost?  Well, they certainly want you to think so.  Cigarette smokers have been paying taxes on cigarettes forever.  In fact, tobacco products are the most highly taxed product in the world.  Where did the money go before health care cost became the rallying cry constantly increasing taxes?
  • Stop and think about all of the negative reports about cigarettes and the evil big tobacco companies and their manipulation of ingredients to make cigarettes more addictive.  Now, stop and ask yourself how many states have told big tobacco “this is a harmful product and you can’t sell it in my state”.  Not one.  The excuse was that if they outlawed cigarettes then it would start a black market.  But the states created one anyway by continually increasing cigarette taxes – you can buy cigarettes on the internet for half of what you’d pay in your hometown – with free shipping!

Won't it cost the states to lose this revenue?

  • Yes and no.  In the short term yes. And hopefully it will cause some belt tightening.  Long term, when the tax is reduced then sales increase.  Residents will shop at home instead of ordering out of state or out of the country.  Right now, states are spending millions of dollars every year to control this black market they've created insisting on excessive and punitive taxation.

What about the children?

  • Duh!  Children shouldn’t smoke.  Is there someone in the country who is still unclear on this concept?  They shouldn’t smoke and it is the parents’ job to see that they don’t.  Every single state has laws on the books to prevent retailers from selling to minors. Some states have laws that make it a crime for minors to possess and/or use a tobacco product – and really, all states should enact these laws.  Someone who sells tobacco or alcohol to a minor should be in deep trouble. And a minor who is in possession of either should also be in trouble.

Why boycott now?

  • The states have spent themselves into total and complete dependency on the MSA payments. Many states have already spent the entire amount dedicated to them - years into the future.  It will be painful and many non-smokers (the ones who kept voting to more and more taxes on smokers) will get to pay their "fair share" of the cost of their state’s stupidity. 

I feel guilty - I should quit smoking.

  • Ok.  That's fine if you want to quit.  But don’t quit because you feel guilty. Quit because you want to do it.  The truth of the matter is that smokers can and do quit when they are ready.  No amount of taxes or state nagging is going to get you to quit until you are ready. 

I smoke, so I should pay more in taxes than anyone else, right?


  • Do you think because you smoke, you should have to pay more taxes than your non-smoking friends and neighbors?  Of course, the states want you to think that you owe them more and more money because you choose to smoke. Do you go to work every day?  Do you pay your income and property taxes?  Why do you owe more for choosing to use a LEGAL product?  We’re not against taxes, we’re against punitive taxes.

What do smokers want and deserve?

  • A fair and just tax rate.  That’s it.  We’ll pay our fair share.  But cigarette taxes are being used to pay for low income health care, trauma centers (which are a worthy thing, but something everyone in the community should chip in for), even road projects!

Will this tax revolt be effective?

  • Yes, if enough smokers are tired of the ever-escalating taxes on cigarettes and are willing to tell their friends and relatives to join in and let the Governor of their state know that enough is enough. 
  • Yes, if you are willing to switch from your favorite brand until the goals are accomplished in your state.  You have hundreds of new brands to try, just make certain the brand you are changing to is not manufactured by Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson or Liggett.  They make many low-cost brands as well as their major name brands.  Read the package.
  • Cigarette smokers - empower yourself!  You have the power to make this the biggest tax revolt since the Boston Tea Party!  Switch brands for tax policy change to reduce or cut off the states’ MSA payments until the states show you some respect for being a hard working tax paying member of society!  Join in, bring a friend and spread the word.