In favor of cigarette tax

Published 9:49 am Saturday, February 27, 2010

To the Editor:

I cannot believe that the governor would not consider raising the cigarette tax, but would make big cuts in health care and education. Health care cuts would hurt underprivileged and special needs children the most.

Raising the cigarette tax by $1 a pack could generate millions in new revenue annually to help close the state’s budget shortfall.

Virginia’s cigarette tax is 30 cents per pack, which makes Virginia rank 49th in the nation. The national average is $1.34 per pack.

Also, raising the cigarette tax may help prevent young people from starting to smoke and encourage current smokers to quit, and save $1.4 billion in health care costs.

One would hope the generosity of the tobacco companies to the governor and the members of the House of Delegates and the Senate would not unduly influence their consideration to increase the tax on cigarettes.

Gov. Tim Kaine tried to raise the cigarette tax, but it was defeated in the House.

The present governor received more than $97,000 from the tobacco companies while running for governor.

William M. Camp