No, the state isn't looking to protect public health with this fee increase, but rather place a heavy burden on law-abiding, tax-paying, community-supporting stores to help pay the price for the state government's years of fiscal irresponsibility.
If money is the concern, by all means tax the heck out of cigarette sales, I say, because those costs are passed on to the consumer. If people insist on smoking, they might as well be made to foot the bill for all the medical problems they bring on themselves and others by doing so.
But don't treat cigarette retailers like common drug-pushers. The days may be numbered, but cigarettes are still legal, and the places smokers rely on for their fix are often the same places those of us striving to live healthy rely on for our food and gas.
Keep those retailer fees where they are, New York, and look for more ways to trim the fat before you cut small-town grocers out of the hearts of our communities.
Matt Bosley is the editor for the Valley News and Tri-Lakes Today newspapers. He can be reached at 873-6368 x216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.