Health Organizations Say Tobacco Tax Proposal Not Enough

Smoking cost!

A coalition of health organizations today issued a statement regarding Governor Tomblin’s budget veto and new proposal to increase the tobacco tax. The Coalition for a Tobacco Free West Virginia, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association announced opposition to the latest proposal to raise the cigarette tax by just 65 cents a pack.

“West Virginia is facing a huge budget crisis not only this year but projected into coming years and has the highest smoking rates in the nation. It makes no sense to settle for a lower tobacco tax that generates far less revenue and does very little to reduce smoking and other tobacco use,” said Chantal Centofanti-Fields of the American Lung Association in West Virginia.

“Our leaders must do something to tackle the tobacco epidemic that is costing the state thousands of lives and a billion dollars every year. The Coalition for a Tobacco Free West Virginia and our partners have long advocated for a cigarette tax of at least $1 a pack. An increase of $1 still puts West Virginia below the national average of $1.61 a pack. Anything less is really just a tax with no real health benefit,” stated Christine Compton of the American Heart Association.

“We urge Governor Tomblin and the legislature to unite in support of the one source of new revenue that is supported by both Republican and Democratic voters in our state – a significant cigarette tax increase of at least $1 a pack, and a comparable tax on other tobacco products,” said Hersha Arnold-Brown of American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

“Raising the tax by $1 will lead to a significant increase in the price of tobacco products, which is proven to keep kids from smoking and help smokers who want to quit. That will go a long way toward solving the budget crisis and reducing tobacco-related death and illness,” added Cinny Kittle, director of the Coalition for a Tobacco Free West Virginia.

Established in 1989, the Coalition for a Tobacco Free West Virginia (CTFWV) is a statewide organization made up of private citizens and member organizations representing a cross-section of West Virginia, including health care organizations, public and private businesses, schools, civic organizations and interested individuals.

Share Button

Comments are closed.