In response to Mr. Shockley, who interrupted the tobacco tax rally by standing and smoking among nonsmokers and shouting protests up to the governor: You were interfering with the free speech rights of others.
You complain of the "Teens For Tobacco Use" being used to push the agenda of others: not true. Unlike you, we were there to support the kids who are every day worrying about their parents, who they rightly fear may meet untimely illness or death. They were there because they chose to stand up to people, such as you, who will peddle cigarettes to get the underaged kids hooked. They were there because they have to deal with hooked kids on and off the school campus and needed to band together for peer support.
Believe me, no one forced these teens. They are a strong-backboned bunch. And on the tobacco tax, if the governor chose to have tobacco pay for what it cost the state of Alaska every year, it would have to raise the price another $4 a pack. Tobacco is one of the causes of the dwindling state coffers. We spend $60 million on Medicaid just on tobacco-caused illnesses every year. That money could have gone to educating our kids.