Aug. 1 1997
Washington, DC - THE CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS is pleased that the federal excise tax on tobacco products will be increased and that the revenue will be used for health insurance for children. We are grateful to U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and U.S. Representative Nancy Johnson (R-CT) for their dedicated efforts to increase tobacco taxes and protect children from a deadly, addictive product. We are disappointed, however, that the increase will not go into effect until the year 2000 and that it will not be sufficient to significantly reduce smoking by kids. A tax increase of this amount is inadequate to serve as a deterrent to the growing number of kids who take up smoking each day, and we urge Congress to seriously consider a substantial tobacco tax increase as soon as possible. Our concerns are compounded by language that indicates that the tobacco tax increase will be credited towards tobacco industry payments that may result from implementation of the proposed settlement agreement between Attorneys General and the tobacco industry. Such a windfall to the tobacco industry is unjustified and unfair. Because the new excise tax increase is not large enough to significantly reduce tobacco use among kids, its impact on consumption should not be further weakened by crediting it against any possible future settlement. THE CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS believes that there should be no linkage between this federal excise tobacco tax increase and a possible future settlement with the tobacco industry.