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[SU] AVO EXE CHI
-- WITH PHOTO -- TO NATIONAL EDITORS:
President's Plan to Expand Early Education with a Tobacco Tax Will
Protect Kids and Save Lives
WASHINGTON, March 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is
a Statement of Susan M. Liss, Executive Director, Campaign for
President Obama today again called for bold action to protect our
children from tobacco addiction and save lives, urging Congress to
increase the federal cigarette tax by 94 cents per pack and similarly
increase taxes on other tobacco products. The evidence is clear that
increasing the tobacco tax is one of the most effective ways to reduce
smoking and other tobacco use, especially among kids, as this year's
Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health just reaffirmed.
This proposal, part of the President's FY 2015 budget, would do more
to reduce tobacco use among kids than any other single action the
federal government can take. The tobacco tax increase would also raise
$78 billion over 10 years to fund early childhood education
initiatives proposed by the President, according to the Office of
Management and Budget. Congress should embrace this proposal
enthusiastically - it would provide millions of kids with a strong
start in life, while helping them live longer, healthier lives free of
The need for Congress to increase the tobacco tax is more urgent than
ever. While our nation has cut smoking rates by more than half since
the first Surgeon General's report was issued 50 years ago in 1964,
the latest Surgeon General's report found that smoking is even more
hazardous and takes an even greater toll on our nation's health than
previously thought. The report found that smoking annually kills
480,000 Americans - causing one in every five deaths - and costs the
nation more than $289 billion in health care bills and other economic
losses. Tobacco use remains the number one cause of preventable death
in our country.
The report also underscored that tobacco use is a pediatric epidemic -
90 percent of adult smokers began at or before age 18, and 5.6 million
kids alive today will die prematurely from smoking-caused disease
unless current trends are reversed. The President's proposal
represents exactly the kind of action needed to accelerate progress
against tobacco and ultimately end the tobacco epidemic for good.
Among its key action steps, the new Surgeon General's report calls for
"raising the average excise cigarette taxes to prevent youth from
starting smoking and encouraging smokers to quit."
"Raising prices on cigarettes is one of the most effective tobacco
control interventions," the report concludes. "The evidence is
sufficient to conclude that increases in the prices of tobacco
products, including those resulting from excise tax increases, prevent
initiation of tobacco use, promote cessation, and reduce the
prevalence and intensity of tobacco use among youth and adults."
Even tobacco companies admit in their own documents that tobacco tax
increases reduce youth smoking. Economic research has found that
every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces youth
smoking by about seven percent and overall cigarette consumption by
three to five percent.
The health and economic benefits of a federal tobacco tax increase
were confirmed in a 2012 report by the highly respected Congressional
Budget Office. The CBO found that a 50-cent increase in the federal
tobacco tax would raise substantial new revenue while prompting nearly
1.4 million adult smokers to quit by 2021, saving tens of thousands of
lives and reducing health care costs, including for the Medicaid
program. Based on the CBO's statement that a $1 tax increase would
roughly double those benefits, we estimate that a 94-cent cigarette
tax increase would prompt 2.6 million adult smokers to quit and save
18,000 lives over 10 years.
We estimate that a 94-cent increase in the federal cigarette tax would
-- Prevent 1.3 million kids from becoming addicted adult smokers;
-- Prevent 493,400 premature deaths from these reductions in youth
smoking alone, and
-- Save $55 billion in future health care costs from reductions in
youth and adult smoking.
The increased taxes on other tobacco products would have additional
health benefits, preventing kids from using harmful and addictive
products such as cheap, sweet cigars and smokeless tobacco.
Furthermore, national and state polls consistently show strong public
support for substantial increases in tobacco taxes, with most polls
showing voters favoring tobacco tax increases by more than a
two-to-one margin. Polls consistently have found that large majorities
of Democrats, Republicans and Independents and voters from a broad
range of demographic and ethnic groups all support tobacco tax
increases - as do significant numbers of smokers.
In short, a significant tobacco tax increase is a win-win-win for the
country - a health win that will reduce tobacco use and save lives, a
financial win that will raise revenue to fund an important initiative
and reduce tobacco-related health care costs, and a political win that
is popular with voters.
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
/CONTACT: Peter Hamm, 202-296-5469
PRN Photo Desk firstname.lastname@example.org
/Web Site: http://www.tobaccofreekids.org
CO: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
ST: District of Columbia
SU: AVO EXE CHI
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