Cigarettes, cigars, and the new flavored tobacco that’s recently become the rage among kids, are all addictive products. We were happy with the Legislature’s recent move to increase taxes on tobacco. Raising prices on these dangerous tobacco products is an extremely smart public policy and will improve public health. But as prices go up, it’s only fair that the state provide support for smokers who then try to quit.
Massachusetts will collect over One Billion Dollars in tobacco excise taxes and settlement payment from the industry next year. It’s a truly astounding amount of money. But only a small fraction of that money, less than ½ of one percent, is dedicated to help people quit smoking and prevent kids from getting hooked on tobacco.
We will be working with the legislators as they finalize the state budget, and advocating for increased funding for DPH’s Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program. It’s a successful, evidence-based approach to protecting kids, saving lives, and driving down our health care costs. And given the amount of money generated from tobacco, it’s also the right thing to do!