Originally created 01/22/06

State must cough up, fight tobacco



Kudos to The Augusta Chronicle for outlining the issues in whether South Carolina's Legislature makes any moves regarding smoking.

I am flabbergasted and awestruck that my state spends not one cent from the federal tobacco settlement funds on anti-tobacco education for our youth.

As a media education consultant, I am constantly called on by schools to come in and teach standards that include the "techniques of persuasion" used by the tobacco industry in its billion-dollar marketing and ad campaigns.

My questions for lawmakers include: Do they have backbone to increase the state tax on cigarettes (a strong deterrent to youth access); how much money will they commit this year to youth tobacco prevention education; and what's holding them back from making the common-sense decision needed to save the lives of future South Carolinians?

The clock is ticking: What will you do differently this time around?

Frank Baker, Columbia, S.C.