The “Tobacco Free Iowa” coalition says it’s come up with a way to resolve the state’s budget shortfall: hike the cigarette tax 50 cents. The move would raise 115-million dollars. University of Iowa public health professor Paul Pomrehn says the higher the price for the pack of cigs, the better. Pomrehn says some of the state’s half-a-million smokers will quit if the price goes up that much. Republican legislators say “no way” to the idea. But Pomrehn says four out of five adult smokers say they want to quit, and higher prices might tip the balance. Pomrehn says for children of smokers, they chances of becoming smokers themselves is reduced significantly when their parents quit. Pomrehn and other members of the “Tobacco Free Iowa” coalition say the state needs to spend more on programs that discourage the smoking habit. The state’s spending just over nine million dollars this year on the “Tobacco Use Prevention and Control” program, which is mainly aimed at kids.
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