Dear Editor: Tobacco taxes are one of the most effective strategies to prevent youth from starting tobacco use, and to give tobacco users an extra push to quit. A new report from the UW-Milwaukee Center for Urban Population Health confirms it.

The report looked at cigarette prices and sales in Wisconsin from 1970 through 2014 in addition to adult smoking rates. It found that as tobacco product prices increased, use of those products decreased. This is important to note because of the current upward trend in use of cigars, e-cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco products. These products use candy flavors and bright packaging that make them more appealing to young people.

Examples of candy flavors include watermelon bubble gum, chocolate chip mint, and sweet and tart candy. In addition, some e-cigarettes include fake gems and jewels for an extra sparkly effect. It’s clear who the intended market is for these products.

Raising taxes on these products may have the same impact that was seen when cigarette taxes increased and consumption decreased.

Tobacco users can get free help quitting by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW

Darlene Murphy

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