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LETTERS: Cigarette tax, cyber bullying and more

A smoker responds to cigarette tax hike

A recent letter writer makes a good point in his response to increased taxes on tobacco products ["Higher cigarette tax is a no-brainer," Letters, Jan. 17]. As a smoker and a taxpayer, I'd like to add the two cents I have left, after taxes that is.

There is no question that the effects of smoking have put a tremendous burden on our health care system, but there are much larger health care burdens on the horizon. Look at diabetes; its effect on our health care system is currently at the "tip of the iceberg" stage. And long after we're done talking about tobacco, we will be talking about our overweight, out-of-shape children. This generation of couch potatoes is going to bite all of us in the wallet.

My question is this: Will we be adding a "sin" tax to bacon-double cheeseburgers? And after that, who knows? Eventually, whoever you are, they will come for you, too.

The tax increase is presented as a deterrent to smoking but it is nothing of the kind. It is about the state needing money and finding a politically acceptable way of pinning it on a small group of citizens - and who could argue? Smoking is bad. But when everybody quits smoking, the state will still need money. So pile on the smokers now if you wish, but it all comes back around.

Steven Dresher

Huntington StationCyber bullies follow our children home

Regarding the story about how explicit texts and inappropriate messages on social networking sites are challenging school ethics policies ["Schools tackle texts, not the book kind," News, Jan. 14], I'd like to point out that this isn't just a school issue, but also a parent and family issue as well.

One of the difficulties discussed briefly in the article is cyber bullying, which is particularly hard for many teens and their families to deal with because - unlike traditional bullying - cyber bullying follows the victim home via cell phones, e-mail and social-networking sites. This is just one of the ways in which cyber bullying can be more devastating than traditional bullying.

Andrew Jimenez

BellmoreEditor's note: The writer works for the Long Island Crisis Center.

Require pilots to use ignition interlock

You recently reported on a United Airlines pilot who was pulled from his trans-Atlantic flight shortly before takeoff because he was above the alcohol limit ["Pilot pleads to being above limit," News, Jan. 6].

Wouldn't a safe, simple solution be to outfit planes with a device similar to a car Breathalyzer, also known as an ignition interlock device? Pilots could be required to pass this test before putting the lives of hundreds of people at risk.

Barbara Kaplan

Roslyn Heights

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