Reader wants higher tax on cigarettes to stop teens from smoking

Published 7:17 am Friday, April 5, 2013

Dear Editor,

More than 21 percent of high school kids in Louisiana smoke, while the national average is just over 18 percent.

One way to reduce the number of youth who start smoking is to raise our state tobacco tax. For every 10 percent increase in the price of a pack of cigarettes, youth smoking rates drop by 6.5 percent and overall cigarette consumption declines by 4 percent. We could prevent an estimated 35,800 kids from becoming addicted to smoking just by increasing the cigarette tax by $1.05 per pack.

I have worked with an after-school program for seven years that concentrates on the harmful effects of smoking. The real reason I want a higher tax is to stop teens from starting the habit in the first place. These are our precious youth we’re talking about. Isn’t it worth the effort?

– Gail Brigham

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network volunteer

Mount Hermon