We're three week away from the November 6 vote on Measure 49 and 50, and Oregon Liberal takes a look at a new report on Measure 50 released by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. Blogger Andrew Ainsworth analyzes some of the benefits the report predicts will arise just from raising the tobacco tax:
By raising the cigarette tax to just over $2, though, we would be:
—Preventing more than 29,000 Oregon kids from becoming addicted adult smokers,
—Prompting more than 15,000 current adult smokers to quit for good,
—Saving more than 13,000 Oregonians from dying prematurely from smoking,
—Improving worker productivity throughout the state,
—Cutting future public, private sector, and household health costs in Oregon by more than $662 million,
—Reducing future state Medicaid program expenditures caused by smoking by more than $81 million,
—Generating more than $94 million in additional new annual state revenue.
It must be incredibly difficult to oppose such a positive policy and not appear as though you are more concerned about the tobacco lobby than Oregonians. The Republicans have nevertheless attempted to do so since the outset of the Healthy Kids discussion in the 2007 Legislature. Opponents have repeatedly warned us “tax-happy” liberals that any revenue generated by an increase in the tobacco tax is unstable. The tobacco industry’s standard talking points argue that smokers will quit in droves if the tax increases, drying up the funding source for health initiatives such as the Healthy Kids program. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids believes historical evidence proves this to be false.
Ainsworth also details the money Oregon will save on tobacco related health care costs from decreased smoking, and the benefits the Measure has for lower-income households. He finishes:
Do what the majority of the Legislature’s Republicans did not have the courage to do: stand up to the tobacco industry to reduce smoking, reduce tobacco-related illnesses and health care costs, increase state revenue, and provide health care to over 100,000 currently uninsured children.
Yes on 50.
Read the rest and discuss at Oregon Liberal.
Oct. 16, 2007 | | elsewhere.Posted in