Smoking Ban and Tobacco Tax Increase Proposed by KHPA

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The Kansas Health Policy Authority hopes that the Legislature will agree to all ten of their proposals this year. Among those proposals is a 75 cent increase on tobacco and a proposal to ban smoking in public areas across the state of Kansas.

"We know that tobacco tax increases of ten percent reduce smoking four percent among adults and even more among price sensitive teens," said Dr. Barb Langner who is the Policy Director for the KHPA. Langner says members met Tuesday to finalize the proposals.

"There are lots of health care costs because people choose to smoke and there are also the incidents of second hand smoke which effects people who haven't made that choice," says Langner.

The income from the tabacco tax would go primarily to poor parents to help them with health care costs. Langner says the parents would have to make $1,200 a month or less to qualify. She says the tax would help to bring health care to those whom otherwise would not have it.

The proposals will be made to the legislature in January. To hear what people think about the proposals click on the video icon at the top of this story.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A state board will push again next year for
a big health plan that includes an increase in tobacco taxes and a
statewide smoking ban.

The Kansas Health Policy Authority's proposals would phase in a
$243 million increase in spending on health care programs over four

Most of the new spending would come from an expansion of state
health coverage for poor parents.

The state created the authority in 2005 to review health issues
and oversee some programs, including Medicaid.

Last year, it pushed a larger, 21-point plan, also with an
increase in tobacco taxes and a statewide ban on smoking in public

Legislators approved pieces of it, but neither the ban nor the
tobacco tax increase received enough support.

Information from: The Wichita Eagle,

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)