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The Editors

Tobacco Taxes Work, But Only If They’re High

Cigarettes should be so expensive, no one buys them.
Pay more, smoke less.
Photographer: Jim R. Bounds/Bloomberg

When smoking costs more, more people quit. That’s why higher cigarette taxes are almost always good policy, for smokers and the public health, too.

There’s a catch, though -- and it’s one that voters in four states should keep in mind as they consider ballot initiatives next month to raise cigarette taxes: Sin taxes work only if they’re high enough.