An anti-smoking advocate says the results of Tuesday’s elections bode well for the overall health of Iowans. Sandra Quilty, government relations officer for the American Cancer Society’s Iowa Chapter, says she looks for progress with Democrats gaining control of both chambers of the Iowa legislature and retaining the governor’s office.
Quilty says “For a long time, what was holding up the tobacco control movement at the legislature was the leadership in the House and Iowans have voted yesterday and made their voices heard that that leadership is no longer what they want.” Quilty says the non-profit agency has been pushing for an increase of one-dollar per pack in the state’s tobacco tax for three legislative sessions, with no luck. She expects that will change with the new legislature in January.
Quilty says “We are hoping that, along with the overwhelming support statewide for an increase in the tobacco tax, and comments made by the new governor-elect with regard to tobacco increases and restoring local control, that good things are in store for the tobacco control community.” The Cancer Society says one in five Iowans smoke and one in three will die because of it — 45-hundred Iowans per year. Quilty says raising the tobacco tax a-buck-a-pack will reduce youth smoking nearly 20-percent while helping 20-thousand Iowans to quit smoking.