I’ve already given you items one and two of what I consider part of a responsible legislative agenda. Here is item three.
Raise the tobacco tax again. Yes, I said raise the tobacco tax again.
I’m not talking Chicago style taxes ($3.60 per pack). I’m saying just raise it to 50 cents per pack. That’s a 20 cent increase per pack.
Here’s the outline version of the reasons why.
- The average state excise tax on cigarettes is 91.6 cents
- We currently tax more than those bastions of progressivism South Carolina (7 cents), Missouri (17 cents), Mississippi (18 cents) and Tennessee (20 cents)
- In case you have been living in cave for 50 years, Smoking Tobacco is Bad for Your Health
- If we raised the per pack tax by 20 cents the project numbers for Kentucky look something like this:
- $228.2 million per year additional cigarette tax revenue
- 20,100 fewer adult smokers
- 31,800 fewer future child smokers
- 10,100 children saved from early smoking death
- $13.1 million Five Year Heart – Stroke health savings
- $11.6 million Five Year Pregnancy – Birth health savings
- $747.5 million Long Term Health Care Savings
I don’t buy the idea that the taxes will be burden only to the less affluent among us. This is one of those simple easy to understand wrong answers to tobacco taxation.
Raising the tax makes sense on both a financial and health basis.