The Georgia House of Representatives takes up debate over cigarette vending machines today, specifically, if they should be outlawed and whether industry should be compensated for the vending machines and lost business.
House Bill 581 calls for the state to pay companies for the vending machines. That's nuts. If taxpayers had to buy out the vendors, it would cost up to $7 million and create a precedent Georgia would pay dearly for in the future.
There have been plenty of consumer products created - and subsequently banned - that the government had no obligation to buy up. The sugar substitute Cyclamate, discovered in 1937 and later linked with bladder cancer, is one such item taxpayers weren't forced to pay for when it was taken off the market. Neither should the state buy up video poker machines after it outlaws them.
This is a no-brainer: Lawmakers should ban the machines, give the owners 90 days to move them out of state or country, and call it good.
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