Kentucky considering increase in cigarette tax..

November 23, 2008 - Kentucky is facing a $450-million shortfall this fiscal year. It is a financial mess that has Kentucky leaders looking at a cigarette tax to help dig them out of that hole. So people wonder if the additional monies raised from the an approved tobacco tax increase would be directed at health care, including a Medicaid stop-smoking program.

Higher taxation is the most effective way to discourage smoking, especially among youths, and reduce health costs associated with cigarettes.

Kentucky, which leads the nation in adult smoking, taxes cigarettes at 30 cents a pack, one of the lowest rates in the nation. This state has the nation's highest rate of lung-cancer deaths and some of the highest rates of heart disease, stroke, premature births and other smoking-associated ailments. Kentucky had high rates of five cancers: lung, larynx, kidney, esophageal and cervical.

Reference: Kentucky urged to raise cigarette tax by Deborah Yetter,, 11/20/2008 and Former Clinton Surgeon General talks about Kentucky's cigarette tax plan by Shayla Reaves,, 11/22/2008.

Governor Ernie Fletcher signed the legislation into law, requiring that all cigarettes sold in Kentucky as of April 2008 be low-ignition strength (or fire-safe) as established by recognized standards. More..