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Statewide Smoke-Free Law Must Be Comprehensive, Preserve Local Control and is Not a Substitute for a Significant Tobacco Tax Increase
Date:1/13/2009

statewide smoke-free law that meets all those requirements. If the legislation is weakened, rendered unenforceable or in any way limits the authority of local governments, our organizations will actively oppose it. There is no room for compromise on these principles because the health of our citizens is at stake.

A smoke-free law also should not be viewed as an either-or proposition with regard to other measures to reduce tobacco use. It is not a substitute for a significant tobacco tax increase this legislative session. The tobacco tax should be as high as possible, with Governor Beshear's 70-cent increase proposal being the minimum needed to make a significant impact.

A large body of scientific research makes it clear that we can eliminate tobacco use as a serious public health problem, but the main obstacle to achieving this goal has been a lack of political will, not a lack of proven solutions. The most effective way to reduce tobacco use is through a comprehensive approach that includes higher tobacco taxes, laws requiring that all workplaces and public places be smoke-free, and tobacco prevention and cessation programs funded at the level recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is the "trifecta" that Kentucky needs to significantly reduce the human and financial toll of tobacco use.

Governor Steve Beshear's proposal to significantly increase the cigarette tax, and Senator Williams' recent statements about the need for a comprehensive statewide smoke-free law, signal a desire to address the state's number one preventable cause of death. But the state must also fund a statewide, comprehensive tobacco prevention and cessation program at the recommended $57 million year, instead of the current level of less than $3 million, to keep youth from smoking and help smokers who want to quit.

Kentucky has the highest smoking rates in the nation because we have faile
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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