Wyoming’s Cigarette Tax Increase is… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Wyoming’s Cigarette Tax Increase is a Big Win for State’s Kids

Statement by William V. Corr, Executive Vice President Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
February 27, 2003

Washington, D.C. — Governor Dave Freudenthal and the Wyoming Legislature have taken an important step toward protecting the state's kids from the deadly lure of tobacco by increasing the state cigarette tax by 48 cents to 60 cents a pack. Higher cigarette taxes are a proven way to reduce smoking, especially among kids, and the terrible toll that smoking takes in health, lives and money. Wyoming can expect a 48-cent per pack cigarette tax increase to prevent some 4,200 kids alive today from becoming smokers, save 1,800 Wyoming residents from smoking-caused deaths, and produce $70 million in long-term savings by reducing smoking-caused healthcare costs. It will also raise roughly $20 million a year in new revenue. An October poll showed 63 percent of Wyoming voters support a 75-cent per pack cigarette tax increase, with part of the revenue dedicated to a program to reduce tobacco use

Increasing the cigarette tax is a first step if Wyoming is to succeed in reducing smoking and the devastation it causes. To achieve a sustained, long-term reduction in smoking, Wyoming must also fund a comprehensive, statewide tobacco prevention program at the minimum level of $7.4 million a year recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The state did increase funding for tobacco prevention in FY2003, but the $3 million they are dedicating represents only 41 percent of CDC's spending recommendation.

We have conclusive evidence that comprehensive tobacco prevention programs work to protect kids, save lives and save money. States that have implemented such programs have reduced youth smoking up to 47 percent in just a few short years. States are also saving up to $3 for every dollar spent on tobacco prevention.

Tobacco's toll in Wyoming is devastating – 28.4 percent of high school students currently smoke, and 1,500 more kids become regular, daily smokers every year, one-third of whom will die prematurely. Smoking-caused health care costs Wyoming and its taxpayers $106 million a year. The cigarette tax will help to reduce this tremendous burden.