Statement from Bryan Hannon, Chair of Tobacco Free Indiana
Statement from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Government Relations Director Kristy Young
CHARLESTON, W. Va. – “Today, Sen. Tom Takubo introduced legislation to increase the tax on cigarettes by $1.50 per pack with a parallel tax on all other tobacco products. This is an important step towards a cleaner, safer, healthier West Virginia that will help kids break the cycle of addiction and tobacco-related disease. Raising tobacco prices through regular and significant tax rate increases is proven to encourage people who use tobacco to quit and prevent kids from becoming addicted.
“Currently, West Virginia has the highest tobacco use rates in the nation with 22.6% of adults smoking cigarettes and 40.6% of high school students using tobacco products. We can and we must do better.
“A tax increase of a $1.50 per pack of cigarettes is estimated to keep 4,300 West Virginia kids from becoming adults who smoke, help 12,300 adults who smoke quit and would generate an estimated $108.40 million in new annual revenue. Increasing the tax on all other tobacco products at the same time is projected to generate an additional $29.8 million annually. In addition, dedicating a portion of the tobacco tax revenue to tobacco prevention and cessation services will further reduce tobacco’s toll on West Virginia.
“The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network thanks Sen. Takubo for his leadership on this critical issue and looks forward to working with the rest of the legislature and the governor to ensure that West Virginia no longer has the highest smoking rate in the nation.”
About ACS CAN at 20
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that saves lives. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and made workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free. As we mark our 20th anniversary, we’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers and save more lives from cancer. Join the fight by visiting www.fightcancer.org.