LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) -- Kentucky health officials are calling on lawmakers to raise the state's cigarette tax.
During a news conference in Frankfort on Feb. 8, several health officials discussed the impact of smoking on people with mental illness.
According to the Tax Foundation, Kentucky's cigarette tax is one of the lowest in the country.
This group wants the General Assembly to raise that tax, saying it could improve and extend the lives of many with mental illness and substance use disorders.
“It is difficult for people with mental illness to stop smoking because the actual act of smoking the cigarette and getting the nicotine into their body, helps alleviate some of the anxiety and symptoms that they feel. However, our members tell us, those that have stopped smoking, that the cost of the cigarettes is one of the factors they consider when they decide to quit,” Ramona Johnson, president & CEO of Bridgehaven, said.
While there is a Senate bill that would raise the tax, all revenue-generating bills must come from the House, which does not expect to discuss a stand-alone cigarette tax bill.