Groups pushing $1-a-pack increase in state cigarette tax make their sales pitch through an infographic


The group promoting a $1-a-pack increase in the state cigarette tax and local ordinances to ban smoking in workplaces has a new infographic to remind Kentuckians of the cost of smoking.

The graphic was created by Kentucky Voices for Health, part of the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow, which says making the tax $1.60 per pack and raising other tobacco taxes would raise $266 million a year in revenue for the state. The average state cigarette tax is $1.71 per pack.

"Research shows that a tobacco tax increase in Kentucky must be at least $1 to achieve any health benefits," the coalition said in a news release. "Tobacco companies use coupons and other point-of-sale promotions to soften the impact of tax increases on the price of their products, so the tax increase has to be large enough to overcome those promotions."

"The current tax doesn't begin to cover the high cost of smoking in Kentucky," said KVH Executive Director Emily Beauregard. An extra dollar per pack will put a dent in those costs. More to the point of the coalition's work, it also will save lives and improve health."

Smoking's costs are measured not only in dollars, said Ben Chandler, chair of the coalition and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, which staffs it. "Nearly 9,000 deaths every year in Kentucky are directly related to smoking, more than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined," Chandler said. "If we don't start reducing smoking rates in Kentucky right now, 119,000 of today's youth will die early due to tobacco use."

The release said "5,900 Kentucky babies would be born healthier over a five-year period because their moms would quit smoking if the state enacted a $1 tax increase. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids estimates that a total of 29,400 adults would quit smoking, and 23,200 kids would never start." The second page of the infographic appears below.

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