News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Money could be better spent on other projects

To The Daily: Since Channel 19 has been “taking action,” one of our elected officials has been on a witch hunt over Internet misuse by the county’s other elected officials. I just have a few questions that I hope someone can answer.

First, how much money (i.e. taxpayer dollars) is being spent on this investigation?

Second, we all know that people who have access to the Internet will use the Internet. There is a “duh” factor involved in this. Why not disconnect the computers from the Internet? I’m willing to bet this would be a lot cheaper than finding out how many times Jane Doe has accessed the Internet in the past 5 days.

Finally, what is the policy and why is it not being enforced? If the policy is to fire the personnel involved, then do so. I don’t see why the further action is warranted in this case. The individuals got caught and were punished. End of story. If the policy isn’t adequate, then change the policy. I’m not condoning the abuse that has obviously taken place, but spending money on this investigation is ridiculous. There are far more deserving projects that need the money that is being spent on this investigation.

- Tonya Allen


Cigarette-tax hike would improve public health

To The Daily: It should come as no surprise that Alabama has had little success in reducing smoking because the state has failed to implement the proven measures to reduce tobacco use recommended by the nation’s public health experts. These measures include high tobacco taxes, well-funded programs to prevent children from smoking and help smokers quit, and a strong smoke-free-workplace law that protects everyone’s right to breathe clean air.

Studies show that increasing the cigarette tax is a highly effective way to reduce smoking and that every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces youth smoking by 7 percent and overall cigarette consumption by 4 percent. While Alabama did implement a small cigarette-tax increase in 2004, the state’s current tax of 43 cents per pack is still far below the national average of $1 per pack. Further increasing the cigarette tax is a win-win-win solution for Alabama — a health win that will reduce smoking and save lives, a financial win that will raise revenue for important state programs and a political win that polls show has strong public support.

Alabama also lags behind in funding tobacco prevention and stop-smoking programs, as underscored by a recent report by a coalition of public health groups. Alabama ranks 46th in the nation and spends just $682,000 a year on tobacco prevention programs, which is less than 3 percent of the minimum amount recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We urge Alabama’s leaders to significantly increase the cigarette tax, pass a comprehensive smoke-free-workplace law and boost funding for tobacco prevention.

- Letetia Jackson

Director, Southern Region

Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids


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