The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

February 15, 2014

Our Readers Speak — Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014

(Continued)

 

Reasons to support tobacco tax increase

West Virginia’s lawmakers find themselves having to make tough choices and find solutions to our state’s budget crisis. One possible solution with many benefits would be a cigarette tax increase.

West Virginia’s cigarette tax is currently 55 cents per pack, the 44th lowest such tax in the country. The national average cigarette tax is $1.53 per pack. Lawmakers should increase the tax by at least $1, both to bring us in line with the national average and to increase the revenue it appears we desperately need.

If lawmakers increased the tobacco tax by $1:

- Nearly 15,000 adults would quit smoking

- 18,300 fewer youth would never start smoking

- 14,300 people could be saved from smoking-related deaths

- West Virginia would raise $126.8 million in tax revenue and, over five years, save more than $6.78 million in smoking-related health treatment costs.

There’s clearly a lot to like about a $1 tobacco tax increase.

Lawmakers should seize this opportunity to have a positive impact on our state’s health and substantially reduce West Virginia’s budget problem at the same time.

Contact your representative now and ask them to vote YES on the tobacco tax.

Patricia Davis

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

Coal City

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