Anti-tobacco group seeking more money for prevention programs
Wisconsin collected $9 million over the last fiscal year in tax revenue from illegal cigarette sales to children, and the state should spend more on anti-smoking efforts, an anti-tobacco group said.
To make its calculations, the Tobacco-Free Wisconsin Coalition used a recent study from the American Journal for Public Health, which said Wisconsin children under the age of 18 illegally bought 15 million packs of cigarettes last year. Wisconsin' s cigarette tax is 59 cents a pack.
That means between 3 percent and 4 percent of state tobacco sales are to minors, the anti-tobacco group said Tuesday. State law forbids tobacco purchases by anyone younger than 18, but some children still manage to buy cigarettes.
The group wants lawmakers negotiating the 1999-2001 state budget to use more of the state' s tax revenue and its $334 million share of the national tobacco settlement to convince children and teens it' s a bad idea to start smoking.
Assembly Republicans have proposed spending $15 million on tobacco prevention programs, while Senate Democrats have endorsed a $31 million plan.