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Poll: Strong Support for Early Childhood Education Funded by Cigarette Tax

July 31, 2013

Early learning advocates today released results of a national survey showing strong support across party lines for a plan to expand early childhood education programs with funding from a 94-cent increase in the federal cigarette tax.

The poll, released by the First Five Years Fund, found that 70 percent of American voters supported the early childhood education initiative funded with the cigarette tax increase. The poll found strong majorities of support among Republicans (60 percent), Independents (64 percent) and Democrats (84 percent).

The national telephone survey of 800 registered voters was conducted by the bipartisan research team of Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research.

The poll is further evidence that a significant increase in the federal tobacco tax would be a win-win-win for the country – a health win that reduces tobacco use, especially among kids; a financial win that raises revenue to fund an important initiative; and a political win that is popular with voters.

Based on an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids estimates that a 94-cent increase in the federal cigarette tax would prompt 2.6 million adult smokers to quit and save 18,000 lives by 2021. We also estimate that a 94-cent increase in the federal cigarette tax would:

  • Prevent 1.7 million kids from becoming addicted adult smokers
  • Prevent 626,000 premature deaths from these reductions in youth smoking alone
  • Save $42 billion in future health care costs from these reductions in youth smoking.

The health and revenue benefits of tobacco tax increases have been confirmed by states across the country. Minnesota is reporting a big increase in the number of smokers seeking help in quitting after a recent $1.60 per pack increase in the state’s cigarette tax.

And just today, Massachusetts’ cigarette tax is going up by $1 per pack. Massachusetts can expect the increase to prevent 27,200 kids from becoming smokers, spur 24,900 current adult smokers to quit and save 15,500 residents from premature, smoking-caused deaths. It will also save $994 million in future health care costs.