Jun. 27 2013
WASHINGTON, DC – The decision by the Massachusetts legislature to increase the state cigarette tax by $1 per pack and also increase the tax on other tobacco products as part of the transportation bill is a win-win for Massachusetts because it will save lives and increase state revenue. We look forward to Governor Deval Patrick signing this legislation into law.
We applaud legislative leaders for siding with kids over the tobacco industry by supporting the tobacco tax increase. The increase in the state tobacco tax rates makes it more important than ever that Massachusetts increases funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. The new cigarette tax increase will motivate more smokers to quit and seek help in doing so. It’s unfortunate that none of the new tobacco tax revenue is being allocated to fund programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit.
We also congratulate Tobacco Free Mass, the coalition that has fought tirelessly to reduce tobacco use and save lives in Massachusetts.
The evidence is clear that increasing the cigarette tax is one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking, especially among kids. Studies show that every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces youth smoking by about 6.5 percent and overall cigarette consumption by about 4 percent. Massachusetts can expect the $1 cigarette tax increase will:
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Massachusetts, claiming 9,000 lives each year and costing the state $3.5 billion annually in health care bills. While Massachusetts has made significant progress in reducing youth smoking, 14 percent of high school students still smoke and 6,700 more kids become regular smokers every year.
With Massachusetts’s increase to $3.51 per pack, the average state cigarette tax will be $1.53 per pack. We call on states across the nation to significantly increase the tobacco tax to reduce tobacco use and its devastating health and financial toll.