[Editor’s note: The following letter, along with two packs of Marlboro cigarettes, was delivered April 30 to every member of the North Carolina legislature by Jim Goodmon, president and CEO of Capitol Broadcasting Co. and president of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, which publishes the Philanthropy Journal.]
This year in North Carolina:
- 24,600 youth will become daily smokers.
- 11,500 people will die and thousands more will become seriously ill because of smoking.
- Tobacco use will cost North Carolina $1.92 billion in health care.
We know how to reduce this unnecessary death and illness in North Carolina.
We know how to greatly reduce long-range health-care costs for North Carolina citizens.
We know that if you want to reduce death, suffering and medical costs, all you have to do is pass a 75-cent cigarette excise tax.
We know that this excise tax will not harm North Carolina tobacco farmers.
We know that this tax is supported by an overwhelming majority of North Carolinians.
We know that this tax will be paid by fewer than 30 percent of all North Carolinians. It is, in effect, a user fee.
If you support this tax, keep fighting for North Carolina’s future.
Opposing this tax is the same thing as giving cigarettes to teens.
And what you may not know is that North Carolina teens prefer Marlboro.
I have attached some Marlboros for you to give away to your hometown kids – and to show your support for “tobacco.”
–James F. Goodmon