Go Healthy Nebraska

Why The Tobacco Tax?

Increasing cigarette taxes is a WIN, WIN, WIN solution for Nebraska — a health win that reduces smoking and saves lives, a budget win that raises revenue and reduces health care costs, and a WIN with the people of Nebraska, who overhwhelmingly support a tobacco tax increase.

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Tobacco use is a serious public health issue in Nebraska. The fact is, right here in Nebraska:

  • - 1,800 kids under 18 become new daily smokers each year,
  • - 96,000 kids are exposed to secondhand smoke at home,
  • - 20.0% (276,500) adults in Nebraska smoke, and
  • - Tobacco use costs Nebraska $537 million in health care bills each year.

And, the fact is, significantly raising the price of tobacco products means healthier Nebraskans and increased revenue for the state.

Win #1: Fewer Kids Smoking

Studies, and experience in state after state, show that higher cigarette taxes are one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking among both youth and adults. Every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces youth smoking by about seven percent and overall cigarette consumption by about four percent.

Win #2: Higher Revenue

Every state that has significantly increased its cigarette tax has enjoyed substantial increases in revenue, even while reducing smoking. These funds have helped states balance budgets and fund essential services like health care and tobacco prevention programs. Contrary to tobacco industry arguments, cigarette tax increases are a reliable source of revenue. Higher cigarette taxes also save money by reducing smoking-caused health care costs.

Win #3: Public Support for Tobacco Taxes

In national and state polls across the country, there is overwhelming public support for tobacco tax increases. Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike want elected officials to increase tobacco taxes to help prevent kids from smoking. Groups such as the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association support higher tobacco taxes because it is a proven solution to improve public health. The tobacco industry opposes tax increases because it decreases the number of people addicted to their product.

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