Dear Editor: Tobacco kills nearly 7,000 Wisconsinites a year. This means that tobacco companies must addict that many new customers per year just to maintain their business. Tobacco companies also know that if they can get children hooked early, they’ll have an excellent chance to keep them as lifetime customers. So, tobacco companies created a new marketing plan to help lure these new young tobacco users.
Tobacco companies are now marketing new tobacco products that come in candy flavors, such as grape and cherry. These products are even packaged to look like candy and are also inexpensive, to successfully appeal to children. A pack of 20 candy-flavored cigars can be bought in Wisconsin for as little as $3, while a pack of cigarettes can cost $6 to $8.
This is clearly an attempt by tobacco companies to exploit a loophole in state laws to addict our children to nicotine in order to maintain their business. Treating the sale of all tobacco in Wisconsin consistently would make it that much harder for tobacco companies to lure our children into using their harmful products.
Our children need help to become successful, healthy adults. Now is the time to focus on a real threat to their future. By creating tax equity in the sale of tobacco products, additional revenue would be generated to help us balance our state budget. A portion of that revenue could even fund tobacco programs to help tobacco users quit and to keep youth from starting.
For more information or to get involved in this significant issue, please contact the Tobacco Free Columbia Dane County Coalition at 242-6297.