Just days after Illinois' governor signed a statewide smoking ban, Wisconsin's governor urges our legislature to make the Badger State smoke-free.

At a press conference with advocates from groups including Smoke-Free Wisconsin and the American Cancer Society, Governor Jim Doyle cited a new report from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

“And this report shows conclusively that if we raise the tax on cigarettes we will save lives.”

Doyle says there is a direct relationship between cigarette costs and the amount of smokers, especially among the youth. That's why the governor is pushing a $1.25 a pack tax increase, to counter big Tobacco's efforts aimed at kids.

“I know firsthand how tobacco companies have used underhanded techniques over the years to manipulate our kids.”

Doyle says everybody knows that if people make it to adulthood without smoking, they likely won't pick up the habit. That's why big tobacco has to target kids.

“I'd ask if any of you had ever known anybody who has gotten over 21-years of age, has never smoked, and then sits down and says 'you know I've thought this all through, I've weighed the pros and the cons, and you know I've decided I'm gonna start smoking.' It does not happen.”

The report shows 7,300 Wisconsin adults die each year due to their habit, and more than 8,000 kids become addicted to smokes, totaling more than $2-billion in health care costs. Doyle explains his three-part effort to sharply curtail youth smoking in Wisconsin and save thousands of lives in our state; He wants to raise the cigarette tax, pass a statewide smoking ban, and triple the amount of money devoted to anti-tobacco efforts.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report (1:51 MP3)

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