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Cigarette Tax, Smoking Ban Discussed At Forum

Governor Steve Beshear’s proposal to raise Kentucky’s cigarette tax was the topic of discussion at the monthly Louisville Forum Wednesday.

One of the panelists was Beshear’s chief of staff, Adam Edelen, who said raising the tax by 70 cents per pack would generate some much-need revenue and help reduce smoking in the Commonwealth.

Edelen said the administration also welcomes the call by Senate President David Williams this week for a statewide smoking ban to help cut tobacco-related medical costs.

“We take Senator Williams at his word, that he recoginizes that we have a public health crisis in Kentucky related to smoking and following the lead of Louisville and Lexington is a good idea,” Edelen said.

Also on the panel was smoke shop operator Charlie Casper, who said, in his view, a tobacco tax hike could ultimately lead to taxes on other products that can cause health problems, such as high calorie foods or alcohol.