Support tobacco tax increase

April Fool’s day just passed and I hope you weren’t fooled by Big Tobacco. The tobacco industry wants Ohioans and the state legislature to believe that raising tobacco taxes will cause tobacco users to go to other states for their tobacco and will put your local convenience store out of business — but history shows that’s simply not true.

Every state that has significantly increased its cigarette tax rate has enjoyed considerable increases in its tobacco tax revenues. This directly contradicts the tobacco companies’ assertion that cigarette tax increases will fail to raise revenue because of cross-border sales. Are you also noticing a trend? It seems big tobacco will say anything to keep its customers.

The Ohio legislature is currently considering increasing the state cigarette tax and the tax on other tobacco products (OTP). If significant increases are implemented, 2017 will mark a great step forward in decreasing tobacco use and reducing tobacco’s negative health impact on our state. Significant increases would lead to fewer of Ohio’s teens beginning to smoke and would lead to a substantial number of adults quitting.

As a former smoker, I urge State Representative Derek Merrin to support increasing the cigarette tax by $1 per pack and equalizing the tax on OTP, a move that will save lives and bring needed revenue to the state. We cannot afford to be fooled by big tobacco’s claims that increased tobacco taxes will cause convenience stores to go out of business and cause tobacco users to flee the state to purchase their tobacco products. This is a fool’s argument.

Sharon Morr, Volunteer,

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network