(FRANKFORT, KY - April 9, 2018) The Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow issued the following statement regarding Gov. Matt Bevin's veto of the state budget bill this morning:

"Gov. Bevin's veto creates another opportunity for legislators to save money and save lives. Raising the cigarette tax by at least $1 would reduce public health care expenditures and help create a healthier, more competitive workforce.

"Treating smoking-related illness in Kentucky costs $1.92 billion annually, nearly $590 million of which is paid for through Medicaid. Raising the cigarette tax an additional $1, to $1.60 per pack, would keep Kentucky's tax competitive with border states, and would lead to nearly 55,000 fewer smokers and savings of $1.07 billion in long-term health care costs for the state. These cost savings would outweigh declines in revenue over time as the tax reduces smoking rates, creating a net budget gain."

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 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 155 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)