CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Brooke Drake, of Charleston, knows how smoking affects her health, and she wants to make sure her nieces and nephews are never tempted to pick up her bad habit.
Drake and representatives of education, public health and faith-based organizations called on West Virginia legislators to raise the state’s tobacco tax from 55 cents to $1 during a media event organized by the American Heart Association at Appalachian Power Park on Thursday morning. They say doing so will generate revenue for the budget-challenged state government and help West Virginia residents kick their tobacco habits.
The event came about six weeks after West Virginia legislators ended a special budget session without setting forth a budget for fiscal year 2016-17, which begins July 1.
Drake said that while a tobacco tax would create a burden on tobacco users in the state, that burden ultimately could lead to many people giving up smoking and possibly save the state money in dealing with the health issues that come along with it…