The rest would be devoted to stop-smoking programs and lung-cancer research. Senator Padilla said the focus is on reducing teenage smoking. He recognizes that a reduction in smoking would mean lower tax revenues.
But Padilla maintains there would be a payoff in reduced health-care costs, and more productivity in the workplace, with fewer people out sick.
Padilla's bill, SB 600, has not yet been scheduled for a hearing. The tax hike would require a two-thirds majority in the legislature, and Republican lawmakers usually oppose tax increases. Padilla admits it won't be easy. But he says the recent budget session demonstrated that "where there's a will, there's a way."
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