Support I-185 to fight tobacco’s health impact

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As an organization that promotes primary healthcare for Montana’s most vulnerable populations, the Montana Primary Care Association strongly endorses I-185, the Tobacco Tax Initiative.

The health impact from tobacco use is well-documented. Because we work with vulnerable people, we know that tobacco companies have targeted lower income communities and their kids, creating generations addicted to tobacco. The impact on these families is substantial with both significant income impacts and serious long-term health consequences.

A tobacco tax, as a policy, is a critical tool to reduce tobacco use in Montana. Combined with good cessation programs (which I-185 provides funding for), I-185 has the potential to reduce tobacco use by 11,000 Montanans, including 1,700 youth, and reduce thousands of premature deaths caused by tobacco.

Tobacco use costs the Montana taxpayers over $440 million each year and yet we haven’t raised tobacco taxes in over 13 years — we are all shouldering the cost of tobacco-caused illness, yet these products continue to be affordable and readily accessible to everyone in our communities.

Let’s use all of the policy tools we can to make it harder to buy and consume a product that is known to kill thousands of Montanans every year. Support I-185.

Cindy Stergar is CEO of the Montana Primary Care Association.

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