I applaud the courageous vote of the Maryland state legislature to raise the tax on alcoholic beverages. Aside from the obvious tax windfall, there is evidence from over 110 professional, peer-reviewed papers that such tax increases reduce underage alcohol use.
As a pediatrician with a busy practice, I no longer ask teens if they drink. The Youth Risk Behavior Study in Maryland has shown that 82 percent of graduating seniors have used alcohol, and a quarter of them have engaged in binge drinking. Kids don't understand the lifelong, devastating effects on their developing brains from alcohol.