Doctors promote higher tax to combat smoking-related deaths

Updated: Jan. 17, 2018 at 12:42 PM CST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A cancer care executive has told a legislative panel that smoking-related diseases are causing a higher death toll in Kentucky than the epidemic from opioid overdoses.

Dr. Jason Chesney, director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, says raising the state cigarette tax by at least $1 per pack would combat the "cycle of death" caused by smoking.

Doctors told the Senate Health and Welfare Committee on Wednesday that the higher tobacco tax would reduce Kentucky's smoking rates. Chesney says deaths from smoking-related diseases are six times higher than opioid overdose deaths in Kentucky.

The committee didn't have a tobacco tax bill before it. Supporters of the higher tax hope to have a bill considered this year, or to have the issue included if lawmakers take up a tax overhaul.

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