Feb. 4, 2013 05:55

Writing Sunday that the "resurrection of the idea of a cigarette tax increase owes more to mathematics than public health," the editors at The Advocate called on Gov. Bobby Jindal and the Legislature to raise the state tax on tobacco products, pointing to the attendant benefits of lower consumption of cigarettes, especially among teenagers.

Writing Sunday that the "resurrection of the idea of a cigarette tax increase owes more to mathematics than public health," the editors at The Advocate called on Gov. Bobby Jindal and the Legislature to raise the state tax on tobacco products, pointing to the attendant benefits of lower consumption of cigarettes, especially among teenagers:

[T]here are solid potential benefits for the state in a higher tax on the leading source of lung cancer. While it is not a growth tax, as smoking is going down, the long-term costs of addiction and illness are substantial, when one includes treatment for the many health problems associated with smoking.

Many other states have raised cigarette taxes significantly, even Mississippi - our longtime competitor in the lower end of the range among the states. And the Mississippi increase was signed into law by then-Gov. Haley Barbour, the former lobbyist for a major cigarette maker.

How much Jindal might - emphasis, might - support in the way of an increase is not clear, although an aide noted that the administration is researching how much of an increase could affect consumer behavior.

That is a key point. Advocates of higher cigarette taxes have demonstrated over the years that teen smoking goes down as the price per pack goes up.

Read the full editorial here.