It’s an age old debate; there are thousands of people who say that if tobacco use were cost prohibitive, fewer people would smoke and chew tobacco. And this reason has been used many times to try and raise tobacco taxes. The premise here is that higher taxes would not only help the government raise revenue, but would also reduce tobacco use. However, this argument really seems to miss the mark. Following are the most important reasons why higher taxes on tobacco would not reduce smoking:
• Smoking is an addiction. Many people who smoke or chew tobacco truly wish they did not. The higher taxes would annoy these people and for some these taxes would create a financial problem, but they would not make people quit smoking. If it were that easy to quit smoking, far fewer people would smoke. So, the financial burden might be hard for some smokers to bear, but it wouldn’t change the fact that they’re addicted to nicotine.