Tobacco use is the nation’s most preventable cause of death, yet nearly 500,000 people in the United States will die from tobacco-related diseases this year. Tobacco kills about 4,400 Kansans annually and is responsible for more than $1.1 billion in associated health care costs.
But we can help tobacco users quit and prevent kids from becoming addicted by encouraging our lawmakers to support the $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax increase included in Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal.
Research shows that this proposed tax increase would prevent nearly 25,500 kids from becoming adult smokers and would help 26,000 adult smokers quit. Increasing the price of tobacco products is one of the most effective steps Kansas can take to reduce the deadly toll of tobacco.
I encourage lawmakers to support the proposed tobacco-prevention efforts to reduce tobacco use, and, therefore, suffering and death from tobacco-related diseases.
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Gay Garrett of Merriam is a volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. She is an attorney who was born and raised in southwest Missouri. She has lived in the Kansas City area about 30 years.