Dear Editor:

Kansas lawmakers will soon decide if the tobacco tax should be increased to $1.50 per pack. Amidst the debate, I'm a face for the issue. This is personal. The issue impacts current smokers in Kansas, teens who may pick up a cigarette and even people who don't smoke but are saddled with publ ic health costs from tobacco use (research shows $825 per household in Kansas). The more tobacco products cost, the fewer teens will try them. It will hopefully force people, like me, to see just how much they are spending on cigarettes and entice them to quit. I was shocked when I added up my cost -- $2,600 a year on cigarettes. I realized what I could be doing for my kids instead of throwing that money out the window. I quit after being a smoker for 11 years. My hope is that the tax increase will make other smokers stop and think not only about the amount of money they are wasting, but about their health because sooner or later smoking catches up to you.

Aide Regalado,

Dodge City