$2 Billion in Annual Health Care Costs in Kentucky are Directly Attributed to Smoking

Smoking related diseases inflict a much higher death toll in Kentucky than opioid related overdoses; advocates of a higher cigarette tax told a legislative panel on Wednesday.

Kentucky’s current 60-cent-per-pack cigarette tax ranks as one of the nation’s lowest. The national average is $1.72 a pack, the committee was told.

Smoking kills more people in Kentucky than alcohol, aids, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined, they say.

The state’s death toll from smoking related diseases is six times higher than deaths caused by the scourge of opioid-related overdoses.

About $2 billion in annual health care costs in Kentucky are directly attributed to smoking, including about $600 million in Medicaid funds.