Support Grows for Kentucky Cigarette Tax Hike

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Support Grows for Kentucky Cigarette Tax Hike

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Advocates against youth smoking called for a tax hike 25 times the state's current tax per pack on Wednesday, saying it was the "single most effective" way to curb smoking among youths.

Lawmakers could prevent youth smoking by raising the state's current cigarette tax by 75 cents to a total of 78 cents per pack, proponents said.

"I'm aware taxation is not very popular," Dr. Emery Wilson told the Legislature's Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare, according to the Associated Press. "But then again, neither is lung cancer."

Currently, the state charges a tax of 3 cents per pack, one of the lowest rates in the nation, the Associated Press reported. Kentucky's tax has not been changed since 1970, and only Virginia charges less at 2.5 cents per pack.

Earlier this week, AARP called for a 25-cent increase in Kentucky's cigarette tax to pay for Medicaid expenses including health and long-term care services. AARP paid for a survey that found there was some support for a 25-cent raise, but less support for a 75-cent tax boost.

Rep. Jon Draud (R-Crestv