The American Cancer Society’s annual Great American Smokeout, held this year on Nov. 19, is about making a plan to quit. As anyone who has ever used tobacco will tell you, quitting isn’t easy.

But tobacco users are not alone in this battle — our community has the power to help Hoosiers quit and help protect our youth from tobacco products. As a grandparent, I am especially concerned about the skyrocketing youth tobacco use and know our state can do more to assist and empower our youth to live healthier.

This simply can be done by increasing the price of tobacco products; as we have proof that this measure helps people who use tobacco quit for good and prevents our youth from starting. In 2021, our lawmakers will hopefully and seriously consider increasing the state’s cigarette tax by $2 per pack. I hope you agree and will join me in asking our elected officials to make this change in the next session.

My hope is for everyone to have a fair opportunity to be as healthy as possible, free from health burdens caused by tobacco products. By increasing the cigarette tax, we have an opportunity to prevent an estimated 39,000 of young people from smoking, and help over 65,000 adults quit.

To live up to the ideal of fairness and justice for all, I urge every tobacco user to make day one your first day to quitting and elected officials to choose youth over tobacco industry profits.

Shirley Dubois, Kokomo

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