Yesterday, I testified on behalf of NHMS in support of HB490, a bill to change the tax rate on tobacco products -- other than cigarettes -- to a price which is equivalent to the tax rate on cigarettes. The bill also proposes to establish a tobacco use prevention and cessation program.

I went through a few familiar points such as tobacco being the only legal product that kills 1/3 of its users; and 31,000 of children in New Hampshire today will die from a tobacco related illness.

I pointed out that these other tobacco products are clearly aimed at attracting our youth by the manufacturers lacing them with sugar and giving them candy flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.  And, these products are sold individually at a price point cheaper than an ice cream cone.  New Hampshire needs a consistent tax rate among tobacco products to help discourage and hopefully prevent children from picking up these candy flavored tobacco products.

 

Lastly, the bill would establish an important mechanism to fund tobacco prevention efforts. New Hampshire currently ranks last in tobacco prevention efforts.  

 

As your president, I will do my best to make myself available to represent the medical community on important public health issues in the months ahead.