Kentucky lawmakers are on the verge of a crucial decision in the coming weeks - whether to support Gov. Steve Beshear's call to raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes from 30 cents to $1. As I finish out my tenure as Kentucky's education commissioner, I am championing that action.
Recent polls show that Kentucky's citizens support such an increase. Groups such as the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the American Cancer Society and Kentucky Voices for Health have weighed in with strong evidence on its importance.
During my time as a state legislator, I sponsored legislation raising the cigarette tax in the 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 legislative sessions. I believed then - and I believe now - that this increase will benefit all Kentuckians, especially our children.