Tobacco tax a win for Ky.

Published 4:50 pm Thursday, December 7, 2017

My name is Janna Vaught and I am currently a sophomore at Middlesboro High School. I am in a group called PALS and something we take pride in doing is being an advocate. Here is a topic that I am advocating for: As a high school student, I am concerned that teens my age are choosing to smoke both tobacco and e-cigs when it is proven they are bad for our health. It is also concerning that the recent released Kentucky KIDS COUNT data report showed that 35.7 percent of Bell County’s rate of births to mothers smoked during pregnancy, which is linked to low birthweight babies and other complications. However, viable solutions do exist to end tobacco use.

Currently, we have a tobacco tax of 60 cents, which ranks one of the nation’s lowest. The national average is $1.71. Increasing the tobacco tax by at least $1 provides three beneficial wins:

• A strong revenue stream for the state’s budget;

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• A proven method to prevent teens from starting to smoke; and

• A proven method to prompt pregnant women to quit smoking.

I strongly encourage my fellow citizens of Bell County to reach out to our legislators and urge them to support a $1 increase on tobacco tax, because it’s is a win-win-win for Kentucky.

Janna Vaught

Middlesboro High School