Title of Proposal:

Resolution on Tobacco Control

On behalf of:

The Richmond Academy of Medicine Describe the Idea or Issue: Cancer incidence and overall health care costs in Virginia are clearly related to the use of tobacco products by our citizens. Virginia’s tax on cigarettes is only 30 cents per pack compared to the national average of $1.65 per pack. The tobacco habit resulting from nicotine frequently begins in youth where price is especially important. Increasing the tobacco tax and increasing funding for tobacco use prevention programs will dissuade young adults from initiating the use of tobacco products.

Desired Outcome:

The Richmond Academy of Medicine would like the Medical Society of Virginia to strongly support a tobacco tax equivalent to at least the national average as a measure to reduce tobacco use in our population and to support legislation which would require that the funds generated by an increase in the state tobacco tax be used to support health related programs for the citizens of the Commonwealth. Furthermore, RAM asks MSV to make this issue a high priority in 2019 to coincide with the American Cancer Society’s efforts in the next General Assembly Session.

Background/Supporting Information:

Background information can be found on pages 63-67 of appendix

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Comments

It is important that this resolution that was passed last year be given high priority this year when our colleagues at the American Cancer Society have decided to do so as well.

The Richmond City Council recently refused to increase tobacco taxes in the city as one of the ways to fund needed school infrastructure.  A statewide tobacco tax increase has many benefits and is long overdue.  We need a powerful legislative member to carry this legislation while we have a doctor in the statehouse.

I find it distasteful to propose an iincrease in taxes. I find it arrogant to attempt to tell the state how to manipulate behaviors by taxation. I find it an overreach to tell the state how to use their revenues a priori (after all, if we're successful, overall tax revenues may actually fall when folks stop smoking).

If the state wants to try to increase revenue - we can suggest that this might be our choice....