Cigarette tax in Mississippi will save lives

Published 12:08 pm Thursday, March 8, 2018

Dear Editor,

As a physician (now retired), I worked hard to keep my patients healthy. Unfortunately, I saw the toll that tobacco use takes on many of the people who came through my door. We know that tobacco use causes one-third of all cancer deaths and a long list of other chronic health problems ranging from heart disease to emphysema.

About half of all smokers want to quit and try each year, but only 3 to 5 percent succeed without help. Despite my best efforts, a patient’s decision to quit didn’t always start in my office. Sometimes external factors help influence smokers’ intent to finally put down their cigarette or other tobacco produce for good.

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Research has shown that increasing the price of tobacco products through a tax increase provides a proven effective incentive to help adults quit and prevent kids from ever starting the deadly habit.

In fact, a $1.50 per pack cigarette tax increase here in Mississippi would reduce costs to the state and save more lives.

As a public health professional, I welcome the extra incentive from our legislators to help smokers take that important step to a healthier life. A cigarette tax increase of $1.50 per pack will truly save lives in Mississippi.


Ralph B. Vance, Sr, M.D., FACP

Professor Emeritus

Department of Medicine, University of Mississippi School of Medicine