Louisiana coalition calls for higher cigarette tax

Local News
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The price of cigarettes could go up, with the tax on a pack possibly going from 86 cents to $1.08 in Louisiana.

Governor John Bel Edwards is calling for the 22 cents tax hike to help fix our state’s budget deficit.

The Invest in a Healthy Louisiana Coalition supports the tax, but they want to see it even higher to prevent children from smoking.

“Statistics have shown that if you have a significant increase and we are asking for about $1.25 a pack increase then children just aren’t going to start that habit,” said Consultant Randy Hayden of the Invest In Healthy Louisiana.

Hayden says the coalition believes convenience stores often don’t ID children, and the hike could keep 23,000 kids from becoming adult smokers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1 out of every 13 children will die early from smoking and 9 out of 10 cigarette smokers tried smoking by 18.

Kevin Williams is a father of a 10-year old, and he thinks the hike would discourage his son from picking up his smoking habit.

“Well too expensive for him to afford it right now you know, and if it going up now, its steady going, going, going, and keep on going,” said Williams.

Surprisingly smokers we spoke with say they may quit if there was a tax hike.

“Because the more they increase the taxes the less I smoke,” said Baton Rouge resident Richard Chataignier.

“Really it’s just telling me it’s time to quit,” said Williams.

The coalition believes their $1.25 hike could raise more than 200 million dollars, some of which, could go towards anti-smoking education for children.

Hayden says the coalition has requested a meeting with the Commissioner of Administration, Jay Dardenne and hopes to speak with the Gov. Edwards.

The Invest in a Healthy Louisiana coalition is made up of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association in Louisiana, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living, and other health advocacy groups.

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