Our elected officials here in New York have things bass-ackwards; they give out free needles to heroin addicts, but tax the hell out of smokers.
The claim that smoking causes healthcare costs to skyrocket is relative; smoking doesn't lead to AIDS and Hepatitis -- like the sharing of dirty needles does.
The State of New York faces a huge budget deficit because democrats in this state haven't met a dollar they wouldn't like to borrow, ass-rape and then spend twice in order to keep a permanent underclass (several underclasses, actually) firmly on the government plantation. You would think that that if you needed to find yourself some places to save or raise money, you might start by denying drug paraphernalia, free-of-charge, to people who are determined to kill themselves.
But that would set up one of those political balancing acts that politicians hate so much because it causes them to think, and make choices -- in this case, Gays versus Smokers -- because the Needle Exchange is supposed to be all about stopping the spread of AIDS, in which your typical asswipe cocksucker, errr, I mean, democrat, can't help but make the wrong choice; facilitating a crime (shooting/possessing heroin is a crime in this state, as is the possession of drug paraphernalia...unless the government gives it to you?) is nothing when it comes to placating and accepting money from a Special Interest (Gays).
You could stop paying for the health care, education, welfare, and food stamps for illegal immigrants, but that sets up yet another dilemma, in which the shithead communists...errr...democrats, will come down on the side of the Devil; don't want to piss off that Hispanic vote, even if all that money is being wasted on people who won't assimilate, hardly ever graduate, undercut wages, and breed like bedbugs in the heat.
You think you might consider stopping that stupid, Yuppie-inspired program which is supposed to "Plant a Million Trees" in New York City, but that might remove the opportunity for graft, I guess, which is what New York politicians are really good at. No ability to kick some of those contracts for the most ridiculous expenditures to your local dickhead bed-wetting fartsniffer's...errr...democrat's...family. Hell, it seems that everytime there's money being lavished on a stupid project in this City/State, some politician's sister-in-law, or fifth-cousin-once-removed usually turns out to be the recipient.
All of this would require an effort on behalf of our elected officials. It might require a modicum of thinking. It might require the removal of the ideological blinders. It would require that the jerkoffs in Albany actually live outside the bubble they've created for themselves and recognize the reality of the complete disaster they have created. But that's not what politicians in New York do; they simply persist in their stupidity and dig deeper holes. They sleep soundly, secure in the knowledge that just over half the people in this City are either their willing slaves, or too stupid to tie their own shoes without a government program. So long as the barest majority is attached to the government tit, the longer this kind of nonsense will continue; "budgets" which contain 6,900 separate bills, drug addicts given the means to continue their destructive habits because to do otherwise is somehow anti-Gay and pro-Aids. Criminals allowed to roam the street, use the hospitals, fill up the schools and demand an entire range of public services in every language but English without ever being expected to pay for any of it --because to do otherwise is considered discrimination.
Somehow, it's perfectly okay single out people who are merely exercising their right to enjoy a legal product which the State has already collected taxes on for the last 234 years. There's no downside to picking on smokers in democratic party circles, because we represent a filthy habit (more disgusting than heroin use or even Gay sex?), we're not a monolithic voting bloc that can be stampeded in the proper direction with a threatened withdrawal of their welfare benefits/immigration status/taxpayer-funded lifestyle, and we're certainly not "plugged-in" to the system of political spoils and patronage in Albany, otherwise there'd be a pro-Smoking Lobby worth it's salt, or even better -- a pro-Personal Rights lobby -- that would stand up for the real oppressed minority in New York: Smokers.
A year from now, when enough smokers have refused to pay $13.00 and have quit , or much more likely, when a black market for cigarettes has arisen, and the State doesn't collect the expected funds, we'll be hearing about more deficits and higher cigarette taxes...but you'll never hear a word about letting fucking heroin addicts die. That'll save you a shitload of health care bucks, and you won't have to give out needles anymore.