Longview Groups Support Cigarette Tax

Thursday's Texas Senate approval of the cigarette tax comes as welcome news to local health groups. They say they're fed up with both the health risks of smoking and the expense of taking care of smokers. While smokers fume over the possibility of forking over a dollar more for a pack of cigarettes, some folks are all for it.

"Well for one thing it will save money , it'll save Texans money, because we spend roughly about 11.5 billion dollars a year on medicaid funding tobacco related illnesses and health care related to that" said Longview American cancer society representative Amy Tatum.

Both the American cancer society and the youth intervention group "ETCADA", say the tax will make present and future smokers think twice before lighting up.

"We would support it because it would be a deterrent to minors to purchase. We are one of the lowest states in prevention for tobacco products as far as sales to minors" said Lisa McMurray of ETCADA.

Their big focus is not on the costs, but the effects of tobacco. Former smokers who know the damage tobacco can do, are also joining their fight.

"Perhaps if you have an added tax to it and its more expensive that these young people would not even start smoking" said cancer survivor and former smoker Mary Nell-Burnett.

Though there are no tangible numbers yet, the groups are counting on the tax to aid in peoples' decision to quit. Its a tax that for once is welcomed, by those who hope smoking will one day be a thing of the past.

  Bob Hallmark reporting.