Anti-smoking advocates want cigarette tax increase

BOSTON (WWLP) — Eight thousand people in Massachusetts die each year from smoking, making it the leading cause of preventable death in the state.

The Department of Public Health says smoking-related diseases account for 10% of all health care costs in the state, which amounts to a full $4.3 billion each year. Seventy-seven percent of smokers claim to want to quit, but anti-tobacco advocates say there is a lack of funding for smoking cessation programs. They are calling for laws increasing the price of tobacco and mandating more community outreach.

“Not funding a tobacco control program is like having a vaccine against a serious disease and walking away from it,” said Dr. Blake Cady, the former President of the American Cancer Society in Massachusetts.

Anti-tobacco advocates failed to get lawmakers to pass a $1.25 tax hike on cigarettes this year, but they intend to re-launch efforts to get similar legislation passed next session.

They encourage anyone who wants to quit smoking to call the Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Copyright 2014 WWLP TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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