BC Drug Free supports Kick Butt Day; Ben Chandler speaks to group
The Butler County Drug-Free Coalition held their monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 7th at the Butler County Educational Complex. The minutes were read and approved.
The BC Drug-Free Youth presented "Samantha the Skunk" anti-smoking skit for the group. The skit will be performed in both elementary schools in the county for the primary grades.
Former Kentucky Attorney General Ben Chandler was the principal speaker for the meeting.
"Smoking is the cause of so much illness and heartache in Kentucky, but it has far greater consequences for Kentuckians experiencing racism, stigma or poverty," said Ben Chandler, Chair of the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow and president/CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. "That's why more than 150 organizations have joined the Coalition - to urge the legislature to use the most effective tool we have for reducing smoking and the devastation it causes in the Commonwealth."
Kentucky's current cigarette tax of 60 cents per pack ranks 43rd in the nation. The national average is $1.72 per pack. Research shows that a significant increase in cigarette taxes is the single most effective measure to reduce smoking, but also has found that such increases only reduce smoking rates and generate other health benefits "if they lead to a noticeable increase in the price of tobacco products."
The Kentucky House of Representatives included a 50 cent-per-pack increase in the cigarette tax in its budget bill, HB 366, which passed on March 1. The Coalition is urging the Senate to add an additional 50 cents.
According to Chandler Kentucky is the Cancer Capital of the Nation.
"9,000 deaths per year in Kentucky are smoking-related, smoking is the number one killer in Kentucky," said Chandler.
The cost of smoking effects all Kentuckians:
- Annual Healthcare Expenditures $1.92 billion
- Annual Medicaid Cost $589 million
- Annual Household Tax Burden $1.168/household
- Smoking-Related Productivity Losses $2.79 billion
Chandler encouraged the local coalition to support the $1 per pack of the cigarette tax and push elected officials to adopt smoke-free laws in Kentucky.
After the meeting, the BC Drug-Free Youth joined Mayor Billy Phelps at Morgantown City Hall for the signing of a Kick Butt Day Proclamation.Click here for copy of proclamation: Kick Butt Day.pdf
The group also posted a large sign on the courthouse lawn.