Koop Testifies in Support of Cigarette Tax
(Host) Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop urged the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday afternoon to increase Vermont's cigarette tax. Koop, who served as Surgeon General from 1981 to 1989, now runs a special health care institute at the Dartmouth Medical School.
The legislature is considering a plan to boost the cigarette tax by 67 cents a pack. Speaking by telephone, Koop said there is no doubt that a sizeable increase in the cigarette tax will discourage smoking by teenagers:
(Koop) "It would be a smart move on the part of the Vermont Legislature, I think, if they are interested in the health of youngsters who will cost them a pretty penny when they start reaping the rewards in health of cigarette smoking in a decade or two. Just this week the New England Journal of Medicine in an article by Congressman Henry Waxman of California noted, as many others have, that the taxes on tobacco indeed reduces its consumption, including the consumption by children."
(Host) Some House Republican leaders remain strongly opposed to a cigarette tax increase. If the House does not address this issue, Senate Finance Chairman Peter Shumlin has vowed to attach a cigarette tax increase to another tax bill that the House is interested in.