Tobacco Taxes Save Lives, Protect Kids

Thirty-five people a day die from cancer in Missouri. One-third of those deaths are directly attributable to tobacco use. That loss of life is tragic -- and it’s preventable.

Thirty-five people a day die from cancer in Missouri. One-third of those deaths are directly attributable to tobacco use. That loss of life is tragic -- and it’s preventable. We have a moral imperative to do everything we can to reduce the toll of this devastating disease on families in our state and our country.

Missourians have the opportunity Nov. 6 to take direct aim at cancer with a yes vote on Proposition B. The ballot measure would increase the state cigarette tax by 73 cents and invest $283 million a year into Missouri schools and programs to prevent tobacco use.

Tobacco taxes have been proven to be the most effective way to reduce smoking rates and to help prevent kids from starting the deadly habit. If passed, Prop. B would compel more than 33,000 adult smokers in Missouri to quit and prevent more than 40,000 kids from ever becoming addicted. The bottom line for Missouri: less smoking will mean less cancer and lower health care costs.

For nearly 100 years, the American Cancer Society has pursued a single goal – to reduce death and suffering from cancer. Thanks to the fundraising efforts of our volunteers -- 3 million of whom participate in Relay For Life events in Missouri and across the country --  the Society has invested millions of dollars into groundbreaking cancer research, provided crucial support to cancer patients and their families and, through the work of its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), lobbied federal, state and local governments to implement proven policies that help fight and prevent the disease.

The American Cancer Society and ACS CAN support Prop. B because we know it will save lives. If passed, more than 22,000 people in Missouri won’t die prematurely from tobacco use. The revenue raised from Prop. B will be invested directly in Missouri public schools and in much-needed programs that prevent kids from smoking and help adults quit. Prop. B will improve the health of the state and help fund schools -- a win-win that guarantees a brighter future for Missouri’s children and families.

The only opponents of Prop. B are tobacco companies and their allies, who together profit from the addiction and death their products cause. The tobacco companies know that higher taxes will result in fewer kids buying tobacco products – which means fewer kids becoming addicted adult customers.  A no vote will allow tobacco companies free reign to continue exploiting the health of Missouri’s kids for their profit.

Don’t be misled by the opposition’s smokescreen -- the truth is clear. A yes vote on Prop. B will mean fewer kids who start smoking, fewer deaths from tobacco use and lower health care costs for Missouri. Join the American Cancer Society and ACS CAN and vote yes on Prop. B for a healthy future for Missouri.

John R. Seffrin, PhD

CEO, American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Karen November 06, 2012 at 12:46 AM
I am not in favor of the government trying to legislate behavior. This may be about raising more government money; it could be the government's concern for our health. I am not a smoker. Next election I don't want to be voting on a higher tax on fast food, or high fat/ high cholesterol foods or other signs of a unhealthy lifestyle. I am voting no on Proposition B.
katie November 06, 2012 at 06:12 PM
If it is costing EVERYONE for the chosen behaviors of a few then I think it's OK for the choosers to pay a higher rate. I don't think my car insurance rate should be the same as a 16 year olds either. There are things that put you in a substantially different risk class and if it is a CHOICE then I think you have to be willing to pay for that choice. (Smoker)


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