POV | Bigger cigarette tax is necessary
Since more than four in ten Americans in 1965 were regular smokers, Kentucky’s current rate of 21 percent might seem good. But it’s not.
Since more than four in ten Americans in 1965 were regular smokers, Kentucky’s current rate of 21 percent might seem good. But it’s not. Because while America has been pretty good at kicking the habit in recent years, Kentucky hasn’t. And right now, the percentage of Kentuckians who still smoke is second only to West Virginia.
Not exactly a bragging point.
In this week’s Sunday Edition, WDRB reporter Marcus Green tells of a new group – the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow – that wants to change that. The coalition wants the state General Assembly to add at least $1 per pack to the tax on cigarettes and push more Kentucky fiscal courts to enact comprehensive smoking bans for enclosed spaces and workplaces. And I’d love to see them succeed.
As Kentucky faces countless deficits with no immediate hope for new revenue, the extra 266 million dollars per year this would generate would be a godsend. But the real benefit is that it would cause a large number of smokers to finally give up the habit, thus reducing Kentucky’s cancer rate substantially.
Speaking plainly, there is no future for tobacco -- and no good one for its users. Kentucky’s lawmakers need to do what’s necessary to boost the health of the Commonwealth and ALL its citizens.
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I’m Bill Lamb and that’s my Point of View.
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