As the WV Legislature works to address a significant budget shortfall, a new poll shows that 67 percent of West Virginia's voters support raising the tobacco tax by $1 per pack to help address this shortfall and fund programs to reduce tobacco use.
West Virginia’s current cigarette tax is 55 cents per pack, which ranks 44th in the nation and is well below the national average of $1.48 per pack. We know that for every 10% increase in the price of cigarettes, we see about a 4% decrease in adult smoking rates and a 7% reduction in youth smoking rates.
A $1 increase in West Virginia’s cigarette tax, along with an increase in the tax on other tobacco products like little cigars and chewing tobacco, would raise more than $140 million in new annual revenue for the state while significantly reducing use rates, particularly among our price-sensitive youth.
This is a win-win for West Virginia! Please urge your lawmakers to support a tobacco tax increase this session!
West Virginia's tobacco tax is among the lowest in the nation and is one of the most contributing factors to our high usage rates. Every year, thousands of our citizens die from tobacco-related illnesses and are replaced by new, young tobacco users who potentially face a lifetime of addiction.
A recent public opinion poll shows that 67% of West Virginia voters support increasing the state's tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products. I am contacting you today as one of those voters.
In addition to the health benefits, increasing the tobacco tax by $1 would generate over $140 million in new revenue that would help balance the state's budget while protecting vital programs from being cut.
I strongly urge you to do everything you can to secure passage of a tobacco tax increase during the 2013 Legislative session.
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