Cigarette Taxes Are the Best Way to Cut Smoking, Scaring Big Tobacco

Health experts agree that raising taxes is the most effective way to reduce tobacco use. The U.S. surgeon general, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have all concluded that raising taxes helps large numbers of smokers to quit and have advocated loudly for it.

But many states – Missouri, Kentucky and Georgia among them – have not significantly increased their cigarette fees in decades, bowing to pressure from tobacco lobbyists and an ingrained antipathy among conservatives to raising taxes of any kind.

As a result, America’s smokers are increasingly concentrated in states where cigarettes are cheap.

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 11: People smoking on the 16th St mall October 11, 2017. City Council committee on will discuss and likely advance the 16th Street Mall smoking ban proposal. This would ban cig, cigar and vape smoking on the mall and within 50 feet of the paved portion, which means you can't even duck around the corner for a drag on (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)

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