Tobacco tax best way to quit

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Montana voters have an opportunity to help improve the health and quality of life of hundreds of thousands of Montanans with a YES vote on ballot Initiative 185. I-185 puts a $2 tax on tobacco and taxes other tobacco products. Phillip Morris, the largest tobacco company in America has spent $12 million to fight this initiative because they don’t want to see their profits fall.

Unfortunately, smoking kills and kicking the smoking habit is extremely difficult. Studies show that raising the price of tobacco is the best way to help those trying to quit. By raising the price of tobacco products, I-185 provides a big incentive to quit, while providing dollars for multiple health programs in our state. These include anti-tobacco education, services for the disabled, seniors and veterans, as well as funding for rural hospitals and Medicaid programs.

Big Tobacco has spent millions fighting I-185, just as they have spent millions marketing to teenagers and young adults. The result has been life-long smoking addiction, poor health and premature death for many. Cigarette companies lied to the public for years about the health impacts of tobacco and now they are lying again — this time to defeat I-185.

I have practiced medicine in Montana for 25 years, caring for countless patients with smoking caused illness. Many of them suffered an early death from cancer, with heart and lung disease robbing them of countless years of life.

Don’t let Big Tobacco win again. Stand up for the health of your friends, neighbors and families and vote to provide vital health services for vulnerable Montanans. Vote YES on I-185.

Suzanne Daniell Hildner, M.D. FACP, Whitefish

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