We need to do whatever we can to discourage youth from smoking, reduce the burden on our healthcare system and save lives.
And as a cancer survivor, I have an even greater stake in this effort.
I wouldn’t want any young people to go through the awful experience I had. I also wouldn’t want them to face the financial hardships I faced in medical costs.
The state of Florida spends $8.6 billion each year in healthcare costs related to tobacco use.
And, evidence has proven that making cigarettes more expensive will be the incentive they need to kick the habit, reduce costs to the state and save more lives.
If an increase of at least $1 added to a pack of cigarettes will help, I’m all for it.
Anyone worried about the cost of cigarettes needs to keep in mind that more than 121,000 people were diagnosed with cancer this year alone. I’m sure many were smokers.
Believe me when I say that’s not a club anyone wants to join.
I urge Florida’s legislators to support an increase in the state’s tobacco tax.
Mario A. Landera, volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Miami Shores