I attended a meeting where proponents of a tax increase on tobacco showcased the importance of tobacco control. If California Proposition 29, the Tobacco Tax for Cancer Research Act is approved by voter, it will increase the tobacco tax by a $1.00 here in CA. The tax is meant to save lives and prevent teen smoking. In general, I would say that a tax increase would deter smokers and research supports that. Some proven tobacco control efforts have been in the area of prevention, cessation and enforcement. A friend of mine mentioned that he successfully used hypnosis to quit smoking. Another great idea might be breaking down the social view of smoking. When I talk to my friends about smoking, there is a perception that lighting a cigarette is cool. Changing our societal perception of smoking might take some time and effort but it is certainly possible.
Millions of dollars are spent on the consequences of smoking such as cancer research, hospitalizations, needless premature deaths, etc. If we were to spend more money on prevention, imagine what the world would look like. It seems to me that a combination of prevention, cessation and public perception efforts are the least expensive and most effective use of our money.
I would love to hear your opinion!