LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A new poll finds a clear majority of Michigan voters want to raise taxes to curb tobacco and vape use.
That’s from a Richard Czuba. The poll reached voters statewide and by a margin of 67% to 28%, those polled said they want to reduce tobacco use and ban flavor vaping products. A majority of voters, 81% said they want to raise taxes on all tobacco products.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids reports Michigan has a $5.33 billion doctor’s bill as a direct result of smoking. That’s $1.46 billion in costs to Medicaid costing taxpayers $1,140 per household in state and federal dollars. And smoking hits the economy as well, costing $11.5 in lost productivity in the state.
The advocacy organization reports 16,200 Michigan residents die from smoking.
Dr. Brittany Tayler is co-chair of the Keep Mi Kids Tobacco Free Coalition – which has a membership of 120 organizations. She said the poll showed broad support across all demographics for more pressure to reduce tobacco use in Michigan.
“It means this is across the spectrum,” she says. “All of the age demographics. The different political parties. And they were really engaged in the fact of protecting youth from starting using – that’s what was most important.”
The proposals were supported by 78% of Democrats, 60% of Republicans and 64% of independents.
Tayler’s advocacy group is lobbying for legislation that will also require retailers that sell tobacco products to be licensed by the state – just as liquor is currently regulated.
We want the more money, too,” Tayler says, “But the tobacco licensure helps. And the taxes and the license go hand-in-hand, so the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and regulate tobacco retailers.
Legislation to create licensing and raise taxes has been pending for over a year. But can it achieve the goal of changing human behavior?
“Yes,” says Tayler. “Policy is one of the steps to do that.”
A vote could come in 2024.