Tobacco Tax Increase To Fund Healthcare?

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, June 21, 2007

The American Lung Association of California is one of the groups promoting a tobacco tax hike.  Paul Knepprath is with the organization. He says an increase of a dollar fifty a pack would generate nearly one and a half billion dollars in its first year. 

“it will prevent teens from starting to smoke –which will have an impact on healthcare costs in the future and it’s going to provide a significant chunk of funding for healthcare.”

Right now the tax on a pack of cigarettes is 87 cents.  Critics of using a tobacco tax increase for healthcare include Democratic Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata:

“You’re betting against yourself. You’re hoping people start smoking and then die and then other people start smoking in order to be able to have a revenue stream.  I just think it’s – you know, we want to get away from that.”

For his part, the Assembly Republican Leader said he’s not a fan of raising any taxes.