Sin taxes are an embodiment of everything wrong with American politics: the idea that if 51% of people personally dislike something, they have every right to use the state to force the other 49% to stop doing that something.
They are the scion of an unholy alliance between two enemies of freedom: the red state fascist Christian theocrats and the SWPL/Jewish liberal totalitarians. In other words, they are the natural product of centrism and bipartisanship and the combination of both forms of statism that are fucking up America.
In particular, support for alcohol taxes always gets me. In most non-Islamic cultures, alcohol plays an important role. Alcohol was independently developed by by countless cultures. Even the Indians of the Amazon rainforest make drinks from fermented manioc. Yet, in both the "liberty-loving" red states and the "personal freedom-supporting" blue states of America no one bats an eye if a state doubles the tax on alcohol.
The fact that Christian fundamentalists/evangelicals/conservatives are so vocal in their support for sin taxes, especially on alcohol is surprising considering that Jesus was the ultimate bartender. Do any of them remember the part in the Book of John where he transmuted water to wine? If God is against alcohol consumption, as megachurch preachers blather whenever
Liberals also put their hypocrisy on full display with regard to sin taxes. Any libertarians who are stupid enough to believe liberals when they say they are in favor of "personal freedoms" and "pro-choice" should take a look at the liberal record when it comes to sin taxes. For example, while they support marijuana legalization, they want to heavily tax it.
They have no problem with putting enough taxes on cigarettes to the point where the taxes cost more than the tobacco, ostensibly because of the public health hazard of tobacco. The claimed public health hazards of smoking have always struck me as overblown. I remember when my great-aunt died, her death certificate listed smoking as the cause of death even though she was in her 80s and in poor health all around. I wonder how many other "smoking-related deaths" were like hers. In 21st century America, doctors apparently don't think that people can die of old age anymore.
They even support putting special taxes on the use of indoor tanning. As with tobacco, they claim this is due to the health hazards of their use. (An alternate explanation is that feminists hate tanning salons because they make women more attractive and, as Rush says, "feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society." Thus, anything that makes women more attractive to men, including tanning, breast implants, and make-up is verboten according to feminists and manginas.)
The mental disorder called liberalism, with its support for socialism, abortion, illegal immigrants, and coddling criminals, is certainly a public health hazard that has led to far more human deaths than smoking ever will. A tax on liberals would probably do more to save lives than a tax on cigarettes.
What sin tax proponents, both left and right, fail to realize is that it is not merely the use of tobacco, alcohol, and/or tanning that causes health problems, it is the excessive use. If you socially smoke you probably won't get lung cancer, but if you smoke three packs a day from age 18 to 60 you probably will. If you drink alcohol at a bar every Friday night, you probably won't develop health problems (instead your health will probably benefit), but if you chug a 12-pack of beer every night you will probably develop them. If you use a tanning bed prior to your vacation to Hawaii you probably won't develop skin cancer, but if you use them weekly for fifty years, you might.
Proponents of sin taxes do not understand the concept of moderation. They don't understand that many people who partake in "sinful" things such as alcohol are not compulsive or habitual users. True, some people abuse alchol, tobacco, etc., but why should the vast majority of people capable of self-control be punished for the high time preference of a few people? Those people will be punished for their lack of personal responsibility in due time. There's no need to tax everyone else for it.