I believe high excise taxes on cigarettes does reduce smoking. Smoking caught on because it was so cheap. As a smoker, I freak out when I see pack prices going above $5, but I can personally say I benefit from such actions because it reduces my ability to purchase them. We should raise those taxes again and funnel the money collected into health care.
Tobacco taxes are a proven strategy to reduce smoking, particularly among teenagers and low-income people. Given the high health costs of tobacco use, reducing smoking rates would lead to substantial health gains. Moreover, youth and lower-income people would benefit disproportionately from improved health, and lower-income children and families would be the primary beneficiaries of the expanded availability of early childhood education that these tax revenues would finance.
Yes, high excise taxes on cigarettes reduces smoking, because there are fewer people who can afford to smoke. As the price of a good goes up, fewer people will partake in that activity. Of course, smoking is an inelastic good, so most people will still smoke no matter what, but some will decide they can't afford it.
First and foremost, smoking is said to be addictive (I've never smoked, just so you know). With that, even if the government will increase cigarette tax, 'chain-smokers' tend to buy just the number of cigarettes that they usually take when its tax was still low. Probably, if the price for smoke will increase than usual, the demand for that smoke will decrease by just a small margin. That is because cigarettes are said to be inelastic. Meaning to say, price changes don't really affect the consumer. Given that cigarette is inelastic, it has also a lesser number of substitutes. By that, people who are addicted to smoking do not have the choice but to buy it just to suit their desire.
It's hard to say that high excise taxes will reduce smoking per se, but that doesn't mean it is a bad idea. The reason excise taxes work are due to the inelastic nature of the goods, nicotine is a very addictive substance and as one would expect cigarettes are a textbook example of an inelastic good and therefore since smokers deem it necessary, they will continue to purchase. Higher excise taxes means more government revenue, but not necessarily less smokers.
High excise taxes on cigarettes do nothing to reduce smoking but it does increase revenue for the government. Smoking is a habit people choose to indulge in and they will pay whatever price they need to pay to continue that habit. Other educational programs would need to be put in place to reduce smoking.