About three dozen AARP members rallied at the statehouse today in support of a one-dollar-per-pack increase in the state cigarette tax. Betty Kelly, an AARP volunteer from Iowa City, says it’s an issue for "seniors" because taking up the habit when you’re young causes health problems when you’re old.
"Many people my age now have emphysema from smoking which is a very expensive disease. I have an uncle that died of it…It’s a very painful death," she says. "Also people that smoke…often have trouble with their veins." That makes it difficult to insert I-Vs, and Kelly says that’s what happened when her husband’s health failed.
Joyce O’Brien of Ankeny, another AARP member who was at the capitol today, believes a dollar-per-pack increase in the cigarette tax help stop young people from picking up the habit. "It’s very important to stop people from starting to smoke," O’Brien says. "The more people we can get to stop smoking, the less problems we will have with your health concerns later in life."
Governor Chet Culver and Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge attended the AARP rally. Judge is holding news conferences in Muscatine and West Burlington Wednesday to push for the cigarette tax increase.