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by Joseph Branco


April 27, 2004

Dear editor,

Did you know that the public costs of tobacco use include $60 million in Medicaid costs? That means that every taxpayer, smoking and non-smoking, must pay for the health effects of smoking. The state is simply asking that the cigarette tax be increased by one dollar so that we can inch just a little bit closer to dealing with the skyrocketing health care costs that smokers confer on all taxpayers. Through the tax, those who choose to smoke would bear more of the costs that result.

When you think about the enormous costs to taxpayers that smoking presents, the tax does not seem excessive at all. And those who find the increased tax a difficult financial burden are free to choose to begin the process of quitting or reducing their tobacco use.

Joseph Branco
Ketchikan, AK - USA



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