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IN the late 1990's, the tobacco companies made a historic legal settlement with every state and the District of Columbia, agreeing to pay $246 billion over 25 years for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. In the last five years, the states have received $40.7 billion in tobacco settlement revenue but have devoted only 5 percent of this money to fighting the tobacco epidemic.

Alabama has spent more than $1 million of this money on boot camps for juvenile delinquents, alternative schools and metal detectors and surveillance cameras for public schools.

Illinois has used $315 million for property tax relief and an earned-income tax rebate.

Michigan, which spends no money on tobacco prevention or cessation, has used 75 percent of its tobacco revenue to provide $2,500 college scholarships to high school students.

New York has used $700,000 to buy golf carts and an irrigation and sprinkler system for a public golf course in Niagara County.

In North Carolina, 75 percent of the tobacco settlement money went to provide assistance to the tobacco-producing community.

North Dakota spent about 45 percent of its settlement on water resources and flood control projects.

Virginia has spent $12 million to lay fiber-optic lines for broadband cable in southern sections of the state.

This lawsuit was never intended to balance ailing state budgets, let alone buy golf carts, cable lines and security cameras. Voters, millions of smokers who want to quit and millions more we want to keep from ever smoking ought to ask their legislators where the money went.

Ok, now first of all, everyone ran around saying the big evil tobacco companies lied to smokers and addicted them to tobacco. Shame on the big evil tobacco companies. Those poor addicts. But, hey let's tax the victims. Those addicts who were victims of the big evil tobacco companies should pay more for being a victim in the first place.

Why stop there? You get raped, you pay a rape tax. Your house gets robbed, you pay the burglary tax. You get shot and actually live, you get the attempted murder tax. Our government can't claim you're a victim and then tax the victim, it's ridiculous. Yet they do.

Then they sued the big evil tobacco companies for making smokers their victim. They promised the money would be used to educate our children about the dangers of smoking, would be used to create programs to help smokers quit smoking, and would be used to offset the health costs related to smoking.

But instead, they spend it on golf and other equally important issues. They do the same thing with all that lottery money they said was for education. Of course if you believe that, it explains why you play the lottery in the first place. it's a tax for people who are bad at math.

Somehow we have come to the point where people just say, well, yeah, they lie, but thats what politicians do. So people just accept it and go on. IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR OUR GOVERNMENT TO LIE TO YOU PEOPLE! WAKE UP! You waste time on other things. Waste just one hour in your week to write your local politicians and complain about the lies they tell you. Let them know you are watching them. it'll catch on. Try it and see. The whole revolutionary war began with a single voice saying, Hey!. this ain't right. DO SOMETHING!


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