atrophying addiction

Here’s an editorial from the NY Times on the decline in cigarette use over time in the United States: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/30/opinion/30wed3.html

The article recommends various stronger legislations to further curb tobacco use. Here’s an idea that the editorial doesn’t recommend: requiring a ‘cigarette license’ in order to buy a pack of cigarettes. The catch is that obtaining the license would be extremely expensive–say around $5,000 per year. Admittedly, this would be terribly economically burdensome for those already addicted (an obvious down side of the idea) but it would do a great deal for disincentivizing smoking in the teenage years, thus decreasing the number of addicts later on.

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