As you may recall, increasing the New Hampshire tobacco tax has been a key legislative priority for NHMS this session.  Governor Hassan and the New Hampshire House included an important $0.30/pack increase in the state budget bill.  With this level of increase we can expect 4,000 adults to quit; even more children will not start smoking in the first place; $24 million in new money will support the state budget; and the state will realize $1 million in direct health care savings.

 

Unfortunately, the Senate is considering removing any tobacco tax increase from the state budget and they need to hear from all of us why it is important to keep it in.  Below are simple steps and concise points to share with your Senator, (taken from the NHMS' in-depth analysis of the tax: read here).

 

Calling your State Senator is much easier than you think.  They are considerate and will listen to your points and may ask a few questions.  When I have called, it was like having a conversation with one of my neighbors or a patient.

 

We need to have as many calls as possible to EVERY Senator for a tobacco tax increase to remain in the budget.

 

Find out the contact information for your state senator.  Phone numbers are listed once you identify and click on your senator's name.  Please call only your Senator.

 

When you call follow these simple steps:

 

1.  Identify yourself as a physician and a constituent.

2.  Indicate your support for keeping the $0.30 tobacco tax increase in the state.

3.  Mention the following benefits of the tax:

·         4,000 adults will quit

·         nearly 8,000 children won't start smoking

·         a 30 cent increase will generate $24 million per year for the state budget

·         the tax will save Medicaid and the State Employees Insurance, $1 million annually

4.  If they ask you questions, answer them the best that you can and if you don't know the answer refer them back to Scott or Janet at NHMS, 224-1909.

5.  If they disagree with you, don't get upset, rather thank them for their time and consideration.

6.  If you get an answering machine, leave the same info listed above and provide a call-back number.

 

As a practicing Family Physician, I know we all are busy, but taking 5 minutes from your week to call your Senator will have an important impact on the health of our patients.

Please send your questions or comments to president@nhms.org or post a comment below.