If we want smokers to quit, let's raise cigarette prices

Published: Sunday, January 23, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 22, 2005 at 10:58 p.m.
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the reason Florida lowered its annual expenditure on anti-smoking education to $1 million because the huge multibillion dollar settlements against the tobacco companies mandated that they foot the bill instead of the taxpayers?
Surely some portion of the $417 million per year Florida receives can be used for this purpose instead of burdening the 90 percent of the population who doesn't smoke with extra taxes.
And it is ludicrous to think that raising Florida's sales tax on cigarettes to the national average of 84 cents will do anything to curb consumption, as this will do nothing to curb addiction. It will just make the poor even poorer.
The only price increase that will have an effect is one that raises their price exorbitantly to $10 a pack or more.
If folks can't afford them at all, they will quit! And that's the end result we are all looking for, isn't it?
Or is this all just a smoke screen to raise more taxes?
Ben Butler, Gainesville

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