Some lawmakers say the idea of raising the cigarette tax is nothing but a money grab from taxpayers. One doctor says it's more important than that.
Dr. Michael Fiore of the UW Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention says tobacco related health care affects everyone. It's the biggest cause, he says, of rising health care costs in the state.
Nearly 40 per cent of the money spent on helping sick people in the state goes toward tobacco related illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and emphysema. Dr. Fiore says, cut the number of people who smoke and get sick, you cut health care costs.
And the doctor contends it's been shown over and over again that one thing that gets smokers to quit, the final straw he says, is the price of cigarettes one the excise tax goes up.
Dr. Fiore says he realizes there are politics involved but he says it's a win-win situation for health care and the health