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PETERBOROUGH, N.H. ?- Jackie Whiton, a six-year employee of the Big Apple, said she was fired after a dispute with her boss over accepting EBT cards as payment for cigarettes.

"I gave two weeks' notice and tried to bow out gracefully," said Whiton, of Antrim. "But the next day, I was fired."

Whiton said she declined to accept an EBT card as payment for a package of cigarettes. The Electronic Benefit Transfer cards are used by state benefits departments to issue cash to recipients, and they can be used like debit cards.

Whiton said her boss told her she can't refuse to sell beer and cigarettes to customers, because, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, EBT or state assistance money can be used to purchase tobacco products.

DHHS said 14,000 households received monthly cash benefits from the state in the past year, compared to more than 56,000 households that received food stamp assistance, which is restricted by federal law from being used on items such as cigarettes.

"No such law was ever imposed on cash benefits, and therefore we don't have the authority to restrict how people use it," said Terry Smith of DHHS. "It is a moot point in that anybody can go to an ATM, withdraw cash and spend it invisibly anyway."

The state has distributed more than $36 million in cash benefits this year. Smith said the EBT system saved the state millions of dollars in the first year it was enacted. Previously, recipients were issued checks, which could also be cashed and spent on anything.

"I just feel the taxpayer should be aware of where their money is going," Whiton said.

New Hampshire officials said no state in the country has restrictions on how cash benefits can be spent. They said enforcing restrictions would require an expensive infrastructure to be created.

source

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No supprise here. It's free obama bucks after all. While these funds can help others really in need of financial support, we give it to some lazy bottom feeders to get their smoke and drink. Great job there obama !!!

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Can't use an EBT card to buy soda, tobacco or alchohol in NY State.

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Rightfully fired. The workplace is not the place to push your political opinions onto others. She should be campaigning to her local politician rather than annoying customers by not selling them items even though there is no law or store policy against it, which is also futile when they can go to an ATM/shop somewhere else anyway.

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It really should only be used for food. But that's something to be handled at the state level not on the per-job level. The cashier should have just done their job or face the consequences.

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No supprise here. It's free obama bucks after all. While these funds can help others really in need of financial support, we give it to some lazy bottom feeders to get their smoke and drink. Great job there obama !!!

Surely you're not saying this is an obama invention. You can't be that ignorant.

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Rightfully fired. The workplace is not the place to push your political opinions onto others. She should be campaigning to her local politician rather than annoying customers by not selling them items even though there is no law or store policy against it, which is also futile when they can go to an ATM/shop somewhere else anyway.

This. And to the 'free Obama bucks' comment, you do realize that EBT, food stamps, welfare, etc. has been going on LONG before he took office, right?

As a matter of fact, when I was a kid, when my family was trying to get back on its feet after a tough spell, that's how we got by....during the Reagan years.

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I agree that taxpayers money should not be used for unhealthy vices like booze and cigarettes.

And yes -- I know that some EBT-bought foods can be unhealthy.

And although Obama did not start EBT, he could could certainly lobby Congress to tighten up the rules that allow purchasing tobacco & alcohol.

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It really should only be used for food. But that's something to be handled at the state level not on the per-job level. The cashier should have just done their job or face the consequences.

No it should be used to live their life. I come from Australia and over here we have a tenancy to knock people down when the get successful, but in the US you lot kick them when they are at their lowest. Don't you people have any compassion.

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^ Letting people ruin their life with cigarettes & booze is compassion ??? :huh:

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No it should be used to live their life.

no... it should be used for necessities, not luxuries...
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no... it should be used for necessities, not luxuries...

It's not your place (or mine) to say what other people do with their lives. You live yours and let them live theirs

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It's not your place (or mine) to say what other people do with their lives. You live yours and let them live theirs

you are very odd in your views of how people use their "help me" money
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It's not your place (or mine) to say what other people do with their lives. You live yours and let them live theirs

Look at the Australian Basic Card, now go cry to your local politician that people on Government benefits can't buy alcohol or tobacco on it

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No supprise here. It's free obama bucks after all. While these funds can help others really in need of financial support, we give it to some lazy bottom feeders to get their smoke and drink. Great job there obama !!!

Obama bucks? heck that's as stupid as me calling the G.W.Bush bucks because he relaxed welfare laws after clinton made them more strict.....

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No it should be used to live their life. I come from Australia and over here we have a tenancy to knock people down when the get successful, but in the US you lot kick them when they are at their lowest. Don't you people have any compassion.

so some schmuck who is down on their luck should be able to use money that comes out of MY paycheck to buy alcohol and tobacco products? GTFOH. The "system" should be a stepping stool, not a crutch. If you are that "poor" to require assistance then surely there must be more important products you can purchase.

I do agree that the cashier should not have chosen her job as his soap box, but I do agree with her principals.

It's not your place (or mine) to say what other people do with their lives. You live yours and let them live theirs

This statement is only true when the "other people" do not effect my life (or the lives of others). While the amount of taxes and other burdens "other people" place on the state and federal level its not as black and white as you seem to think.

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It's not your place (or mine) to say what other people do with their lives. You live yours and let them live theirs

Well, um, it does become our place when it is our tax money. Sorry. I don't agree with the extremist point of view here. I believe in a safety net for people but I believe it should be there to protect the middle class. Without the safety net we would have a lot of desperate folks out there and with despair comes all kinds of crime and other social problems.

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All this outrage about "your tax payer money being used wrong" on people buying cigs, yet you guys say nothing about the other millions of ways it is used wrong. Sheesh, priorities are ****ed by so many.

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All this outrage about "your tax payer money being used wrong" on people buying cigs, yet you guys say nothing about the other millions of ways it is used wrong. Sheesh, priorities are ****ed by so many.

I think we can agree for once to an extent. This is like complaining about a daily coffee expense when you spend 80,000 a month for rent. Sure you could kick the coffee expense but it won't solve the problem.

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It's not your place (or mine) to say what other people do with their lives. You live yours and let them live theirs

If everyone think like you I guess we are still in the middle ages.

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If everyone think like you I guess we are still in the middle ages.

Actually the opposite. Did you ever learn about the dark ages, when thought was restricted and certain life styles were pushed onto society... Open thinking and living is what leads to progression. It doesn't hinder it. Hindering is putting restrictions on certain things that people can do. Purchasing cigs is nothing that affects anything in the big picture. Small minded thinking doesn't get people very far. Look at the bigger picture, and the larger issues that affect the nation, and you will see why this is nothing.

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Actually the opposite. Did you ever learn about the dark ages, when thought was restricted and certain life styles were pushed onto society... Open thinking and living is what leads to progression. It doesn't hinder it. Hindering is putting restrictions on certain things that people can do. Purchasing cigs is nothing that affects anything in the big picture. Small minded thinking doesn't get people very far. Look at the bigger picture, and the larger issues that affect the nation, and you will see why this is nothing.

Sorry, they shoulnt be able to buy them on EBT period. I will agree in saying that, while reprehensible, we got bigger issues to worry about that are far far more pressing, but that doesnt change the fact of how wrong allowing this is.

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Sorry, they shoulnt be able to buy them on EBT period. I will agree in saying that, while reprehensible, we got bigger issues to worry about that are far far more pressing, but that doesnt change the fact of how wrong allowing this is.

EBT should be for necessities, not cig/booze/coke etc...

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Sorry, they shoulnt be able to buy them on EBT period. I will agree in saying that, while reprehensible, we got bigger issues to worry about that are far far more pressing, but that doesnt change the fact of how wrong allowing this is.

If you are bad enough that you need such assistance, you should have some way to escape from the pressure of that burden. It's better its spent on something that is at least seen as legal than on something illegal. We are all entitled to a little relief from life, and the poor should not be excluded just because they can't afford it. Not saying they should be spending it all on just guilty selfish pleasures, but a little here and there is not something to frown upon on anybody.

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I agree here. EBT should not be used to purchase 'luxury items'. In fact here in Washington (I just read the laws) it's actually illegal to do this.

So before saying that there are no laws against it, there actually are some state laws that prohibit their usage for such items.

If you are bad enough that you need such assistance, you should have some way to escape from the pressure of that burden. It's better its spent on something that is at least seen as legal than on something illegal. We are all entitled to a little relief from life, and the poor should not be excluded just because they can't afford it. Not saying they should be spending it all on just guilty selfish pleasures, but a little here and there is not something to frown upon on anybody.

Considering that 1-pack of cigarettes a day here in the US is going to run them around $150 a month...I don't consider that a little here and there. That's a significant chunk of monthly benefits.

Then let's say they buy 3 bottles of booze a month. That's about $50 right there. So $200 on vices per month IS a huge, HUGE chunk.

Now imagine if even just 50,000 of the receipients are doing this. That's $12,000,000 a year in benefits that could actually be used for its intended purpose.

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