Letter: Tobacco taxes do work

I read Paul Young’s letter to the editor about the increased use of minicigars (“Tobacco taxes don’t work,” June 10). While the use of these minicigars concerns me greatly, I must respectfully disagree with his stance on taxing tobacco.

Tobacco taxes do work. In fact, research shows that every 10 percent price increase reduces youth smoking rates by 6.5 percent and overall smoking consumption by 4 percent.

Young’s point concerning cigar smoking is still well taken. Many people don’t know that cigars are addictive, harmful, and deadly. Cigar smoke contains the same toxins as cigarette smoke, and like cigarettes, causes cancer, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Giving up on raising the tobacco tax is definitely not the answer. We need to protect Louisianians, especially our youth, from the deadly habit. Increasing the tobacco tax is a proven way to reduce tobacco use.

The solution is simple. Louisiana should not only raise the cigarette tax, but increase taxes on all types of tobacco products, including cigars.

Amber Stevens