Coalition Launches Oct. 18 at Rally in Frankfort
Determined to move Kentucky from its dismal rankings as the nation's worst state for cancer and the second-highest for smoking, more than 100 business, health care, advocacy and faith leaders gathered in the Capitol Oct. 18 to launch the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow.
Coalition Chair Ben Chandler answers a reporter's question as (left to right) Dr. Pat Withrow, Jacob Steward and Dave Adkisson look on.
The broad-based statewide alliance will support state and local policy changes to improve Kentucky's health by reducing tobacco use and protecting Kentuckians from secondhand smoke and other tobacco emissions.
Top on the list of those policy initiatives is increasing Kentucky's cigarette tax by at least $1 per pack. This would:
keep 23,200 youth from becoming adult smokers;
lead 29,400 adult smokers to quit;
prevent 14,800 of today's kids from dying prematurely; and
result in 5,900 fewer smoking-affected pregnancies and births.
The Coalition also plans to help local communities enact smoke-free workplace laws, and educate consumers and health care providers about classes and other resources to help tobacco users quit.
The Costs of Smoking in Kentucky
Illnesses related to tobacco use and second-hand smoke cost Kentucky nearly 9,000 lives and $1.92 billion in health care expenditures every year. The tax burden on every household to cover these costs is $1,168 annually. Smoking also costs Kentucky businesses an estimated $2.79 billion annually in lost productivity.
The proposed tobacco tax would raise $266 million in new state revenue, while also reducing Kentucky's health care expenditures and creating a healthier workforce, the partners said. Given Kentucky's current tax rate of 60 cents per pack, the 43rd lowest in the nation, the new rate still would fall below the national average of $1.71 per pack.
How likely is a tax increase? "With the task of tax reform looming before the General Assembly in 2018, Governor Bevin has emphasized that all ideas and concepts 'will be on the table,'" said Sen. Ralph Alvarado.
Coalition partners said achieving all three initial goals will significantly reduce Kentucky's smoking rate. Kentucky's adult rate, at 24.5 percent is the second highest in the nation (right behind West Virginia, at 24.8 percent), and 62 percent higher than the national average of 15.1 percent. Kentucky's high school youth rate of 16.9 percent is more than double the national average of 8 percent.
For more information, visit our website. Video from the news conference is here.
Other Tobacco Related News:
Tobacco program launches Quit Now Kentucky campaign
Kentucky's Tobacco Quit Line is taking center stage in a new advertising campaign that encourages people to stop using tobacco products. The ads are designed to lead people to the commonwealth's free tobacco counseling service, 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669). Read more here.
Kentucky is part of "Tobacco Nation" ... And ranks 50th in America's Health Rankings Report
Kentucky is part of a "Tobacco Nation," a nickname for the dozen states where smoking rates are the highest in the country, and where the cost of smoking is lower. Read more here.
Kentucky Cancer Summit - Fall Lung Workshop
October 24, 2017, Frankfort
The Kentucky Cancer Consortium Lung Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Network currently is focused on supporting the implementation of a new Kentucky law requiring health plans to cover smoking cessation programs, as well as other tobacco policy, system and environmental changes.
Contact: Jennifer Redmond Knight, Kentucky Cancer Consortium, firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Quick Refresher: Passing Laws at the Federal, State, and Local Level
October 25, 2017, 2-3:30 pm (ET), Webinar
Designed to give members of the tobacco control and public health community a short refresher on how laws in general - and tobacco control laws in particular - are passed at the federal, state, and local levels.
Save the Date: Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy Spring Conference
April 11, 2018, Lexington
Want to join us?
Does your organization want to help make Kentucky healthier by reducing tobacco use? Click here to join our Coalition. Or email Angela Koch, email@example.com.