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Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow sets legislative priorities for 2020 — includes taxes

The Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow Steering Committee has begun planning the agenda for the 2020 Kentucky legislative session.

Among the priorities for the Coalition will be:

Tobacco 21 – This law would prohibit retailers from selling tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21 (the current legal age to purchase tobacco in Kentucky is 18).

The Coalition favors holding retailers responsible for underage sales and opposes a military exemption. Several bills will be in play in the U.S. Congress over the coming months as well, and they may mandate state action.

E-cigarette Excise Tax – Currently, e-cigarettes and vapes are subject only to sales taxes, but cigarettes and other tobacco products also are subject to state excise taxes. Given the popularity of e-cigs among youth and their sensitivity to prices, it makes sense to consider an e-cig tax parallel to the tax on cigarettes to help address the youth vaping epidemic.

Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Funding Increase – Kentucky prevention and cessation programs are funded at just 6.7 percent of the amount recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this year ($3.8 million).

The Steering Committee will seek funding for 2020 of $10 million.

Increased Cigarette Excise Tax – The legislature passed a 50 cent/pack increase in the cigarette tax in 2018, although the Coalition had advocated for a $1/pack increase to achieve significant health benefits.

The need for revenues to address pension funding among other budget issues may present the opportunity to seek another $1/pack in 2020.

Over the next several weeks, Steering Committee members will be drafting position papers on each of these policy goals.

From Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow

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