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Favoring a cigarette tax

I strongly support Question 1 on the Massachusetts ballot Nov. 3 - the American Cancer Society-sponsored 25-cent tax on cigarettes to fund health programs for children. As a physician, witnessing the suffering brought on by cigarettes, I cannot be quiet while the tobacco industry tries to condemn our children to nicotine addiction. Over 90 percent of smokers start in their teens or younger, and in Massachusetts 10 years old is the average age to start smoking.

The most effective and proven method to stop children from starting to smoke is to raise the price of cigarettes. A 25-cent cigarette tax in California in 1988 led to a 17 percent overall decline in smoking, with a greater reduction among children. Because I have never met smokers who want their children to smoke, I encourage all voters, including smokers, to help save our children from this deadly addiction by voting "yes" to Question 1. Josiah D. Rich, MD, Boston

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Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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