Most smokers in Texas start long before they legally can. Nine out of ten start before they’re 18 years old.
That’s why State Sen. Carlos Uresti (D) wants to raise the smoking age to 21.
Smoking costs Texans nearly $6-billion each year in health care. The state pays for $1.6 billion of that through medicare.
But it also brings in a lot of cash. Texans pay, on average, $5.52 per pack. $1.40 of that is tax money.
It’s estimated Uresti’s bill would reduce smoking among 18-20-year-olds by a third, but he didn’t really consider that whole tax thing.
All those young smokers account for about $20 million a year in tax revenue, money that pays for school property tax cuts.
Now, lawmakers will need to figure out where the money can come from or the state won’t be able to balance it’s budget.
…Further emphasizing the point that everything has a price.