By Washington Post Editorial Board
MARYLAND HAS one of the highest state-imposed cigarette tax rates in the nation ($2 per pack) and, unsurprisingly, one of the lowest smoking rates. Virginia has one of the lowest cigarette tax rates in the nation (30 cents per pack); its smoking rate is almost 20 percent higher than Maryland’s.
America is well past the debate about the health effects of smoking, but tobacco taxes in many states remain low, thanks largely to the influence of tobacco companies. Yet it is clear that higher cigarette taxes have a direct effect on smoking rates, and they are particularly effective in dissuading young people from taking up the habit.