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Tobacco tax hike best way to help people quit

In response to Mr. Briant's column "Tobacco tax increases are outrageous" his only focus is about financial impact, but I feel the focus should be on the health of our community. There's more to this issue than money and the negative effects of tobacco taxing, but he doesn't mention any advantages.

Tobacco companies are targeting our youth, and a few colleges are still selling cigarettes right on campus, including Bemidji State University. Where is the outrage over the tobacco industry continuing to target college students with candy-flavored cigarettes? Although some colleges are changing their policies to create smoke-free environments, we have to wonder what else can be done.

Taxing tobacco is the most effective public health tool we have to help people quit smoking, and hopefully to prevent youth from ever starting. I believe the lives that will be saved are worth infinitely more than the lost revenue the state may eventually experience. If your son or daughter avoids taking up smoking due to its high cost and thereby potentially saving his or her life, wouldn't that be worth it to you too?

Kelsey Johnson