Sanders ponders legality of cigarettes
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There is “almost the question as to why” cigarettes are legal in the United States, Bernie Sanders said in an interview aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The remark came as Sanders explained his opposition to a proposed tax on sugary drinks in Philadelphia, which would fund pre-kindergarten education, reiterating that it is a “totally regressive tax” that results in poorer people paying even more in taxes if they buy a bottle of soda.
When moderator Chuck Todd asked him if he felt the same way about cigarette taxes, Sanders said he did not.
“Cigarette taxes are — there’s a difference between cigarettes and soda,” the Vermont senator said. “I am aware of the obesity problem in this country.”
Todd replied, “I don’t think Michael Bloomberg would agree with you on that one,” referring to the former New York mayor’s infamous effort to limit the size of sugary drinks sold in the city. (The state’s highest court in 2014 ruled that the city had overstepped its regulatory bounds by implementing the rule.)
“Well, that’s fine. He can have his point of view,” Sanders said. “But cigarettes are causing cancer, obviously, and a dozen other diseases. And there is almost the question as to why it remains a legal product in this country.”