My granddaughter, Isabelle Lafaver, is about to celebrate her first birthday this Sunday. She accompanied her dad and grandpa to the polls on Nov. 6. Her dad, Jeremy LaFaver, was elected to the Missouri General Assembly. Her grandpa worked hard to pass Prop B to increase the cigarette tax in Missouri. Obviously her dad had a better day on Nov 6 than her grandpa.
Over the years I have been involved in many campaigns and I have been on both the winning and losing side. I understand the risks you take when you get involved in a campaign—you win some and you lose some.
Never have I been involved in a campaign that potentially affected the health outcomes of so many people like that of Prop B. I find it difficult to understand why voters want to protect the profits of tobacco companies at the expense of the health of our citizens and adding to the cost of paying for health care in our state. I don’t know why voters seemly side with the views of the tobacco companies rather than the views of the American Cancer Association and the U.S. Center for Disease Control when talking about health issues caused by smoking tobacco. I don’t understand why the tobacco industry is successful in convincing folks that having the lowest cigarette tax in the nation is good for economic development….when every other state in the nation is doing just fine attracting business with much higher cigarette taxes. I don’t understand why every political and health leader did not come forward to strongly support this effort when only a few more votes in each county of the state would have made Prop B a winner.
Nov. 6 was a frustrating night for those of us in Missouri who care about health.
Someday before Isabelle gets too much older, I want her to join me and many others as we try again to reduce the harmful effects of smoking. For those of us who have had cancer in our families, this passion to reduce or eliminate smoking and the self-inflected dreadful disease caused by smoking will not go away.