(FRANKFORT, KY - March 29, 2018) The Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow issued the following statement regarding passage on March 28 by the Oklahoma legislature of a $1-per-pack increase in the state cigarette tax - from $1.03 to $2.03 - as part of a revenue measure. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin is expected to sign the bill into law.
"The Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow celebrates this historic moment in the Oklahoma legislature as an example of courage to do what it takes to improve residents' health. We believe Kentucky, like Oklahoma, which is led by a relatively new Republican majority and faces a budget crisis and severe education funding needs, can similarly resolve to do the right thing and pass a $1-per-pack increase in the state excise tax on cigarettes.
"The fact that the Kentucky measure also will bring in more than $200 million in revenue certainly makes a cigarette tax increase more palatable. The bottom line, however, is that this is a health measure. It's a smoking prevention measure for our youth that will keep 23,200 Kentucky kids from becoming addicted to cigarettes. And it's a cost savings measure that will reduce health care costs in Kentucky by more than $1 billion over the long term."
About the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow
The Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow is committed to its mission of improving Kentucky's health by protecting Kentuckians from secondhand smoke and other tobacco emissions, and by reducing the high rate of smoking and tobacco use in the Commonwealth. For more information, please visit www.smokefreetomorrow.org.
The Coalition is led by representatives of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Baptist Health, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, Humana, Kentucky Cancer Foundation, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Kentucky Council of Churches, Kentucky Equal Justice Center, Kentucky Health Collaborative, Kentucky Health Departments Association, Kentucky Hospital Association, Kentucky Medical Association, Kentucky Nurses Association, Kentucky School Boards Association, Kentucky Voices for Health and Kentucky Youth Advocates. Other partners and members of the Coalition represent a broad array of more than 145 groups, including Kentucky business leaders, health advocates, health care providers and payers, educators, and faith community leaders. See entire list on the Coalition website.
Bonnie J. Hackbarth