It is President Obama’s greatest ongoing public health victory, yet you may hear little of it on the campaign trail because it involves the dreaded “t” word — taxes. Smoking is at historic lows in the United States, 18.9 percent according to the Centers for Disease Control, less than half the 42.9 percent of 1965. The most obvious reason is the unprecedented 2009 hike in the federal tax on a pack of cigarettes from 39 cents to $1.01. Public health advocates had pushed for the increase for years as national smoking rates stalled at around 20 percent in the last decade.
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