Health Advocates Lobby For Higher Cigarette Tax

Kentucky health advocates are pushing lawmakers to increase the state's cigarette tax.

Supporters of a 70 cent increase in the tax spoke in favor of legislation in the capital rotunda on Wednesday morning.

Kentucky currently has a 30 cent tax and backers of House Bill 443 say the increase will save thousands of lives and pump 240 million dollars into the state's budget each year. Doctors say the tax will also stop kids from smoking.

Pediatrician, Dr. Julia Richardson says, "I have a 12 year old patient who smokes. All I can offer her is encouragement until she grows up and becomes more addicted to tobacco and then she can try medicines to combat her addiction."

The national average tax on a pack of cigarettes is currently more than a dollar.


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  • by james Location: edmonton on Dec 13, 2008 at 07:20 PM
    Why not tax alcohol? Alcohol costs the state millions every year. Drunk drivers, arrests, court, violence, crime, police patrols, etc.... Why not a luxury tax on alcohol and dog food? Why not tax all junk food,cookies, cakes, nabs, chips and snacks (for the obese? These are a contributing factors that are increasing healthcare costs among others. Maybe your salaries or more careful monitoring of state spending habits? why do you have to hurt the working man were poor already ? Why dont you tax the things that rich people do Like dog and cat food for one? There are a lot of other things you can tax besides cigarettes. What about recreational activity tax? Higher taxes on luxury vehicles that burn more gas and pollute our planet. These our some of the things that poor people can't afford. Why take away the one thing that we can afford. Are you just trying to kill another job market in Kentucky. the tobacco farmers?
  • by Public Health Grad Student Location: University of Kentucky on Feb 29, 2008 at 11:09 AM
    Mary, I completely agree with you. Bringing casinos (which are currently under a constitutional ban) would only bring more burdens upon Ky. More financial burden could be brought upon families with the introduction of casinos & Steve, just because the poverished people smoke and raising taxes on cigarettes to at least national averages (with Ky having the highest rate of smokers) would provide them a financial burden, they should probably decide to support their smoking habit or their family. Are my tax dollars supposed to feed their children while they smoke packs a day? Taxing the rich? Tax all smokers equally. And the "know-it-alls"? They (including me) collect data where available (hospitals, vital statistic data, health department, etc). I do not claim to know it all, but just reporting information I come across. This is an issue that effects all. Just look how many women smoke during pregnancy (when quitting during the first trimester does so much!) Effecting more than just her!
  • by Mary Location: Ky on Feb 29, 2008 at 07:59 AM
    Since lawmakers say smoking causes poverty then what do they think gambling will do? I hate cigarettes & drinking liquor because both affects other people...cigarettes by the second hand smoke & liquor by drunk drivers. But gambling is going to cause more problems than these two combined. Yet they are pushing gambling. Where is their brain?
  • by skinner Location: paris on Feb 29, 2008 at 05:57 AM
    why not raise the liquor prices!!!! why do you always have to pick on the cigarette smokers!!! liquor kills just the same and gets more publisty.......
  • by Bill on Feb 29, 2008 at 04:48 AM
    How about a do gooder tax, or a bis body tax,maybe a nosiy tax,or a to much free time tax.Leave it to the democrats to raise every tax in sight.We could just have one tax,and call it the suck all dry tax.
  • by Steve Location: KY. on Feb 29, 2008 at 04:35 AM
    I have never seen anyone quit smoking because they raised the price of ciggs. If the "know it all's" say that smoking is associated with poverty, does it make any sense to tax these people? Why take more money from the poor? They won't stop smoking and their children will just suffer more! Why don't they tax the rich a little more and leave the poor people alone!!!
  • by Public Health Grad Student Location: University of Kentucky on Feb 28, 2008 at 10:33 PM
    Greg, could you define for me how you can assure more people abuse alcohol than those who abuse tobacco and how did you come up with the numbers? Sure the largest population of college students drink alcohol and drink until they are sick, but over half of the population of the U.S. smokes (according to 2005 reports). Smoking is the single most preventable cause of many diseases. The 3000 chemicals that you put into your body puts stress on the heart. The carbon monoxide levels would drop to normal after 12 hours of the last cigarette. Also, it would take you 10 yrs after quitting to cut the risk of developing lung cancer in half of those who smoke. I won't continue with the mounds of facts that I have (look what I'm studying) but everyone knows enough to decide. It would be different if it only effected the smoker but when everyone around get the same chemicals (unfiltered) it compounds the issue with surrounding populations. I HATE it when I walk out of a building into smoke.
  • by Larry Location: ky on Feb 28, 2008 at 06:50 PM
    I like to see 5.00 taxes on cig. that is good enought raise the taxes to 5.00 and this state will be in good shape as long as someone spend money on the killer cig.
  • by Gail Location: Lawrenceburg on Feb 28, 2008 at 05:49 PM
    If I have to pay more taxes to smoke, than I should get to cut my school taxes in exchange. Health insurance rates also increase due to well baby care, and those wonderful childhood illnesses. Yes, smoking does causes several illnesses. How about obesity? AIDS? Want to tax those people? Where does it stop. I'll pay for my cancer ridden lungs when you start paying for your children.
  • by my 2 cents worth on Feb 28, 2008 at 03:40 PM
    It's cigarettes today, fast foods, donuts, chips, candy bars, and ice cream tomorrow!
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