Updated Fri, Mar 14, 2014 1:45 pm
Gov. John Kasich's idea to add $.60 in tax to each cigarette box is one of the most polarizing issues in his recent budget update.
Thursday, a group of anti-tobacco advocates gathered in the Statehouse to voice their support of Kasich’s proposal.
Democrats have said the cigarette tax is harmful to the poor, because more poor people smoke than wealthy.
However, Phillip Cole, Executive Director of Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies, which works to help low income Ohioans, said we need to change the way we look at the impoverished.
"We tend to look at poor people as being weak or irresponsible and that’s not true. They come from different circumstances or they live in different circumstances right now. But they’re every bit as strong as everyone else," Cole said.
Physicians also voiced their support on the increased cigarette tax from a medical perspective.
Dr. Dana Vallangeon, CEO of Lower Lights Christan Health Center, said, "It's a choice and a lifestyle issue. And so, accross the accross the board equally, everyone is at the same playing field, same level to have another reason to make a healthier choice."
The governor's proposals presented in his Mid-Biennium Review have been drafted into a bill by Rep. Jeffrey McClain (R).
Caleigh Bourgeois is a fellow in Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau. Follow her on Twitter @caleighreports.