From the Louisville, Ky. Courier-Journal — Originally published Tuesday, March 24

Even tax increases and price hikes can be good news.

Consider Courier-Journal reporter Alex Davis' report in the Sunday newspaper that higher federal and Kentucky cigarette taxes, coupled with a weak economy and several tobacco companies' decision to raise their prices, have moved some smokers toward quitting.

They aren't all happy about that prospect, of course, but they should be.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Most smokers get hooked as teen-agers and young adults. Every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes cuts youth smoking by 7 percent and overall use by 4 percent, according to the national Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The chief regret should be that state legislators in Kentucky, which has the nation's highest adult smoking rate (28.3 percent) and the mortality figures to back it up, were content with a paltry 30-cents-per- pack tax increase to a total of 60 cents. They should at least have shot for the national average of $1.21. ...

Indeed, cigarette taxes are a no-brainer. They raise revenue in the short term and discourage destructive behavior over the long haul. ...

More in Pending Regs

Teen use of e-cigarettes skyrockets

Read more »