Moffitt director: Hike cigarette tax to fund cancer research listen02/19/09 SeÃ¡n Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:
Yesterday state Sen. Ted Deutch filed a bill in Tallahassee to raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes by $1.
Deutch, a Democrat from Boca Raton, hopes the tax increase will discourage people from smoking, reduce the number of smoking-related illnesses, and raise an estimated half-billion dollars a year to help balance the stateâ€™s budget.
Deutch said that some of the revenue from a tobacco tax increase could be directed toward cancer research.
This morning, WMNF asked the director of Tampaâ€™s Moffitt Cancer Center, William Dalton, for his opinion on the proposed cigarette tax increase.
â€œWell I think it has to happen. Unfortunately, cigarettes and tobacco are the leading cause of cancer. So to raise the tax, what youâ€™re going to do is reduce the number of people smoking, especially young people. If you can reduce the number of young people smoking, then they donâ€™t become addicted to tobacco, and their lives are happier, and they live longer happier lives. Those that do â€“ that will pay the tax â€“ it will in turn be reinvested in research that ultimately, hopefully, will help them even get off tobacco, because thatâ€™s a major part. But also to hopefully help them with the diseases that are manifest from that. So, itâ€™s a good investment.â€
Floridaâ€™s existing tax on cigarettes, 33.9 cents per pack, is among the lowest in the country.