Restore funding for the tobacco control program
Dear [Decision Maker],
As a volunteer with ACS CAN and a resident of Rhode Island, I write to urge you to increase funding for Rhode Island's tobacco control program to $3.2 million for Fiscal Year 2021 and tax all tobacco products at a comparable rate.
Despite the clear health and economic impact that tobacco use has on Rhode Island and its residents, funding for the state tobacco control program, including cessation efforts, anti-smoking media campaigns and policy work, has steadily declined from $3.2 million to the current level of around $390,000. The CDC recommends that Rhode Island spend $12.8 million annually, leaving significant room for improvement. Additionally, the state is leaving crucial revenue on the table that could be used to fund our tobacco control program. Non-cigarette tobacco products are taxed at a lower rate than cigarettes. This may encourage people who use tobacco to switch to a cheaper product instead of quitting and it also lowers the barrier to initiation of use for youth. While tax on cigarettes in Rhode Island increased in 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2017, the excise tax on other tobacco products hasn't been increased since 2009. There is currently no excise tax on e-cigarettes.
We need a comprehensive approach to tobacco control in Rhode Island. The state should restore funding for our tobacco control program and ensure that all tobacco products are taxed at an equivalent rate to cigarettes: when other tobacco products are taxed at a lower rate, they are more appealing to price sensitive consumers, including youth. It's time to prioritize tobacco control to reduce cancer in Rhode Island. I look forward to hearing your response.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP][Your Email]