Coalition Urges Support for Cigarette Tax

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(Host) A coalition of 78 Vermont organizations urged the Legislature on Tuesday to back a plan to increase the state cigarette tax by 67 cents a pack. The groups range from the Vermont Low Income Advocacy Council to the Vermont Lung Association to the Roman Catholic Church.

Currently, Vermont has one of the lowest cigarette taxes in the Northeast.

Tina Zuk of the American Heart Association says the new tax revenues will provide money for a variety of health care programs and will help curb teen smoking rates:

(Zuk) “And studies have shown across the board that if you increase the price of tobacco by 10%, kids are the most dramatically affected and they reduce smoking by 7-14% for every 10% increase in the price of tobacco. And one of the things we’re concerned about is [that] kids are one of the markets that the tobacco industry targets, because then they will be long-term customers. Most people start smoking before the age of 20, so if we can prevent that from even happening, we save lives and health care dollars by the handful in the future.”

(Host) The House Health and Welfare Committee is reviewing the tobacco tax issue.

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