(FRANKFORT, KY - April 2, 2018) The Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow has worked tirelessly over the past six months to provide lawmakers and Kentucky voters with the evidence that a $1-per-pack increase in the cigarette tax will reduce cancer and greatly improve health in Kentucky by reducing our high smoking rates.

The budget passed by the legislature today includes only a 50-cent increase on cigarettes.

We appreciate that this was a difficult vote for many legislators in Kentucky. However, evidence shows that a $1 or higher increase in Kentucky's cigarette tax would keep 23,200 kids from becoming addicted to cigarettes, and lead another 29,400 adults to quit smoking. Treating tobacco-related illness costs Kentucky $1.92 billion every year, so the reduced smoking rates from a $1 cigarette tax increase also would have improved the Kentucky's budget by reducing those health care expenses. What ultimately passed the legislature, however, is only a tax increase and not a health improvement measure.

The Coalition also appreciates the efforts of those who continue to stand with us in our campaign to reduce tobacco-related illness and lost productivity in the Commonwealth. Kentucky needs more measures proven to reduce tobacco use and the Coalition will continue to fight for these measures.

Meanwhile, our hope is that at least some youth and adult tobacco users will heed the information we have shared about the health hazards of smoking, including e-cigarettes, and resolve to avoid tobacco in all its forms in the future. For more information, visit www.smokefreetomorrow.org.
About the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow
The Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow is committed to its mission of improving Kentucky's health by protecting Kentuckians from secondhand smoke and other tobacco emissions, and by reducing the high rate of smoking and tobacco use in the Commonwealth. For more information, please visit www.smokefreetomorrow.org.

The Coalition is led by representatives of the American Heart Association, Baptist Health, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, Humana, Kentucky Cancer Foundation, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Kentucky Council of Churches, Kentucky Equal Justice Center, Kentucky Health Collaborative, Kentucky Health Departments Association, Kentucky Hospital Association, Kentucky Medical Association, Kentucky Nurses Association, Kentucky School Boards Association, and Kentucky Youth Advocates. Other partners and members of the Coalition represent a broad array of more than 145 groups, including Kentucky business leaders, health advocates, health care providers and payers, educators, and faith community leaders.

Media Contacts:
Bonnie J. Hackbarth
877-326-2583 (Office)
502-552-3770 (Mobile)

Angela Koch
877-326-2583 (Office)
502-759-2171 (Mobile)