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Knoxville News Sentinel

NASHVILLE -- Starting today, state Department of Revenue agents will begin stopping Tennessee motorists spotted buying large quantities of cigarettes in border states, then charging them with a crime and, in some cases, seizing their cars.

Critics say the new "cigarette surveillance program" amounts to the use of "police state" tactics and wrongfully interferes with interstate commerce. But state Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr says his department is simply doing its job, enforcing a valid state law while protecting Tennessee retailers who properly pay state taxes.

Here we go, making cigarette smokers criminals. We've already got an overloaded prison system full of non-violent drug offenders. Where are we going to fit these latests additions into the mix?

Look, I understand smoking is unhealthy, and a leading cause of death. But to make such draconian laws against smoking will only result in an added cost to society, not eliminate the problem.

To top it all off, the war on drugs has gone from poor to bad these last 3 decades, and now the states want to add another drug to the battle. What successes can be sited in justifying this new direction for our law enforcement agencies? I've certainly not seen any successful reduction in overall drug use.

All this is doing is making otherwise average people into outlaws.

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