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I recently read The News article about a proposal by the Kids' Health Initiative to increase the price of cigarettes in an effort to reduce teen smoking. At first I thought this would be impossible, and I wondered if raising the price of a pack of cigarettes would really make a difference.

I see teens smoking all the time at bus stops, in front of schools and walking down the street. Sometimes there are young children around. My daughter has asthma, so I'm very educated about the dangers of tobacco, second-hand smoke, lung cancer and all of the other horrible diseases associated with smoking.

A few days later, I was watching the CBS evening news and the truth was right in my face. Kids are smoking at a rate much higher than ever before. Dan Rather reported a 48 percent increase in teen-age smoking in the last 10 years -- to about 6,000 kids a day who now light up.

We must do something about this national crisis. Raising the price of cigarettes by $1 per pack won't hurt. I am sure kids are just like the rest of us when it comes to money -- if a product that we like costs too much, then we stop buying it or we use less of it.

Betina Watson

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