Did you know that the number of high school students in Connecticut that currently use tobacco products is climbing for the first time in years?  From combustible cigarettes to e-cigarettes, more of our kids are becoming hooked on products that will cause lifelong health issues and potentially even death.

Fortunately, we know what works to help decrease tobacco use – including e-cigarettes – and part of that is significant tax increases on these products. While Connecticut is doing well when it comes to taxing most tobacco products, it is falling short when it comes to our excise tax on e-cigarettes. This is troublesome because youth who start using e-cigarettes are much more likely than their peers to start smoking combustible cigarettes.

I urge the legislature to tax e-cigarettes, as well as any electronic smoking products, at the same level as traditional cigarettes, as proposed by Gov. Ned Lamont in his budget. This tax revenue can be used to fund enforcement and comprehensive education, prevention and cessation programs.

Doing so will serve as a deterrent for youth falling prey to Big Tobacco’s targeting and prevent another generation from becoming addicted to these products.

Bryte Johnson is the Connecticut Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

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