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Death and Taxes


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Dear editor:

The letter "Unfair to Smokers" (April 22) mentioned that yearly tobacco taxes amount to $13 billion. This amount falls far short of covering the over $100 billion that smoking costs yearly in lost productivity and health care expenses (Thomas MacKenzie, M.D., Carl Bartecchi, M.D., and Robert Schrier, M.D., "The Human Costs of Tobacco Use," New England Journal of Medicine, April 7, 1994, page 975).

Not that smoking should be banned everywhere, but cigarette taxes should be increased enough so that smokers pay their share of health care expenses. A $2 per pack increase in federal excise taxes would bring in almost $35 billion more revenue (according to a statement from Action on Smoking and Health)--still not enough for smokers to pay their way, but a big step toward that goal.

Michael Brennan

N. Albany

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