DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) -Duncan health officials spoke out on the proposed tobacco tax and how it could help countless Oklahomans.
"The tobacco tax is designed to help offset funding cuts that the Oklahoma Health Care Authority has put forward that could be catastrophic rally to hospitals as well as nursing homes," said Jay Johnson, Duncan Regional Hospital president.
State lawmakers are set to vote on the proposed tax, which would add $1.50 to every pack of cigarettes in the state. If approved this legislative season, the tax could help ease the burden of the funding cuts as soon as July. Otherwise, healthcare providers would have to wait until a November vote, which could put a number of hospitals and nursing homes at risk of closure.
Johnson says he is in full support of the tax, and urges residents to reach out to their legislators as soon as possible.
"Call your legislator, ask them to support the tobacco tax, and ask them to support it this legislative session, and not wait until November to take it to the people," Johnson said. "We need to be calling this week or next week."
Johnson says the tax benefits not only healthcare system, but the health of countless Oklahomans, saying the tax could serve as an incentive for people to quit smoking.