Public Health Solutions’ Board of Health supports LB 1013. As Board of Health members committed to ensuring the public’s health, we support the increase in tobacco tax for Nebraska. This is a proven strategy that results in reduce smoking rates, saves lives, and reduces health care costs. Nebraska’s currently ranks 40th nationally and is lower than our neighboring states of Colorado, Iowa, and South Dakota. Our department has been actively engaged with community partners to reduce the smoking rate and subsequent health issues in our district. The tobacco tax increase will make a positive impact on these efforts.
Almost everyone’s lives have been touched by the effects of smoking. On a daily basis we see the consequences of smoking in our districts as evidenced by lung cancer rates, pulmonary, and cardiovascular disease. These tobacco related illnesses are estimated to cost $795 million dollars in Nebraska*. In addition it is estimated that the tobacco industry spends an estimated $66 million to hook our kids on tobacco in Nebraska*
To improve the health of the communities we use strategies based on evidence based practices. Raising cigarette taxes is a proven practice that reduces the number of our youth who smoke. Preventing tobacco use in teens is critical to ending tobacco use in Nebraska. The best way to reduce the impact of smoking is not to start.
The goal of public health seeks to prevent and control disease, prolong life through organized efforts and informed choices of society, public and private organizations, communities, and individuals. While primary care addresses an individual’s needs, public health efforts are targeted toward population health improvements and health system changes, including education and self-management and creating communities and environments that support healthy lifestyles.
LB 1013 is a giant step in the right direction to save lives and reduce health care costs.
*Toll of Tobacco in Nebraska. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (9-25-15)