As legislators currently weigh options to fund health care priorities in Vermont, it makes sense to look at funding sources that target health care problems. The Vermont House will be voting on legislation this week to increase the tobacco tax and implement an excise tax on sugary drinks. Urge them to support the measure by clicking the following link! https://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/actioncenter.aspx
While the tax levels in the bill aren't as high as we'd like to improve public health, they are a start, and the bill needs to move ahead so we can improve it in the Senate or conference committee.
Vermont is spending a half a billion dollars each year treating chronic diseases caused by obesity and tobacco – half a billion! While legislative money committees are charged with raising revenue to meet state fiscal needs, they are also charged with doing what’s in the best interest of Vermonters, and that means doing what’s most helpful for the long-term as well.
Science shows a 10% increase in the price of tobacco and sugary drinks would have a public health benefit, decreasing adult smoking by 3-5%, youth smoking by 7% and sugary drink consumption by 8%.
No other revenue option on the table would have as substantial a health impact. The closer we can get to a $1.25 tax on tobacco and a penny an ounce on sugary drinks, the bigger the health impact for Vermonters.
Let your legislators know financial decisions should not be based solely on balancing the budget but also on making wise decisions that will serve the public best now, and our children for years to come.
Contact your legislator at http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/search/2016 or call them at 1-800-322-5616 and urge them to support significant cigarette and sugary drink excise taxes to help reduce the burden of chronic disease in Vermont.
The House Health Care Bill that will be voted on this week includes a $0.25 tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products and a half cent excise tax on sugary drinks. Click on the following link to urge representatives to vote in favor of this bill. https://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/actioncenter.aspx
Then work with us once the bill moves to the Senate to let lawmakers know higher tobacco and sugary drink taxes can provide a one-two punch to smoking an obesity in Vermont.