Tax Increase Apparently Decreasing Smoking

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Higher cigarette taxes may be helping to drive down smoking in Mississippi.

Cigarette consumption fell to 67.9 packs per person in Mississippi in 2011. That's the lowest total since record-keeping began.

From 2008 to 2011, the sale of cigarette packs in Mississippi decreased by more than 26 percent.

Both trends, experts say, can be partially attributed to 2009's combined $1.02 per pack increase in cigarette taxes.

The state raised taxes by 50 cents per pack in May 2009, a month after the federal government raised taxes 62 cents per pack.

Still, Mississippians consumed 68 packs per capita in 2011, above the national average of 48.

The share of people who smoke may be falling, but experts say some may be smoking fewer cigarettes without quitting altogether.