Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Raise the cigarette tax again?

June 5, 2008
Health advocates beamed with a â??told-you-soâ?? response this week when state officials announced that cigarette sales dropped dramatically after taxes were raised last July.

Sales fell nearly 18 percent, apparently a direct result of boosting the tax 44 cents to a total of 99.5 cents per pack.

The drop was predictable, advocates insisted, and Indiana University pulmonologist Stephen J. Jay says itâ??s time to raise the tax again.

He says mountains of research show a relationship thatâ??s nearly impossible to refute: The higher the tax, the fewer youth who start smoking and the more adults who cut back on the habit.

Backers of last yearâ??s tax increase wanted to shoot for a total tax of $1.50 to $2 per pack, and lawmakers should reconsider the higher figures, Jay says.

Indianaâ??s per-pack tax ranks 27th, well below the $2.75 in New York but pricey compared to the 7-cent rate in the tobacco center of South Carolina. The national average is $1.25.

What do you think? If the tax increase created such good results, should it be raised again?
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