Lewis Diuguid

November 14, 2013

Majority of older, younger people favor banning smoking from public places

Let’s hope a new AARP survey on smoking pushes Missouri lawmakers to finally raise the cigarette tax, which is the lowest in the nation, and officials to build more incentives into the Affordable Care Act, encouraging smokers to quit and nonsmokers to never start.

An AARP survey on smoking showed that older and younger people share similar views — they think smoking should be banned in public places and taxed to support health care costs.

The findings were published in the November issue of the AARP Bulletin. The results of the survey of 1,006 adults age 18 and older showed that 19 percent of people age 18 to 49 currently smoke compared with 18 percent of people age 50 and older.

In the younger group, 17 percent are former smokers compared with 36 percent for older people. Smoking used to be a widespread habit with ashtrays everywhere and in cars, but health-related campaigns have caused a lot of people to quit and ashtrays to disappear.

Our changing habits also have resulted in 63 percent of the younger group to report that they have never smoked compared with 47 percent of the people in the older group.

In the younger group, 65 percent said smoking should be banned in public places compared with 71 percent in the older group. Seventy-one percent of people in the younger group thought tobacco products should be taxed to support health care costs compared with 68 percent of the people in the older group.

Both groups thought smokers should pay higher health insurance rates — 53 percent of those in the younger group felt that way compared with 59 percent in the older group.

Let’s hope the data pushes Missouri lawmakers to finally raise the cigarette tax, which is the lowest in the nation, and officials to build more incentives into the Affordable Care Act, encouraging smokers to quit and nonsmokers to never start.

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