Cigarette Tax Increases Take Effect… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Cigarette Tax Increases Take Effect in Four States July 1

Average State Cigarette Tax Has Doubled to Nearly 90 Cents in Four Years, Reducing Smoking and Raising Billions in Revenue
July 01, 2005

Washington, DC — On July 1, cigarette tax increases will take effect in four states - New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Washington. This will bring to 39, along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, the number of states that have increased cigarette taxes since January 1, 2002. During that time, the average state cigarette tax has more than doubled from 43.4 cents to 89.8 cents a pack, raising billions in new state revenue while helping to significantly reduce smoking and save lives.

On July 1, cigarette taxes will increase in New Hampshire by 28 cents to 80 cents a pack, in Ohio by 70 cents to $1.25 cents a pack, in Washington by 60 cents to $2.025 a pack and in Virginia by 10 cents to 30 cents a pack (the Virginia increase is the second half of a two-phase increase approved a year ago).

Two other states have also approved cigarette tax increases this year. On September 19, Maine's cigarette tax will double to $2 per pack. On June 1, Kentucky increased its cigarette tax by 27 cents to 30 cents a pack.

Scientific studies show that ever 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces youth smoking rates by about seven percent and overall cigarette consumption by about four percent. According to an analysis by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the combined effect of the cigarette tax increases approved or implemented so far this year will be to:

  • Prevent more than 250,000 kids from starting to smoke
  • Spur more than 150,000 adult smokers to quit
  • Prevent more than 125,000 smoking-caused deaths
  • Produce more than $5.5 billion in long-term health care savings
  • Raise more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

Several tobacco-growing states are among those that have increased cigarette taxes in recent years, including Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee. However, North Carolina and South Carolina still have the nation's two lowest cigarette tax rates at just five cents and seven cents a pack respectively. North Carolina lawmakers are currently negotiating a compromise between a 35-cent-a-pack increase approved by the state Senate and a 25-cent-a-pack increase approved by the House.

In addition to North Carolina and South Carolina, other states with the ten lowest cigarette tax rates include: Missouri (17 cents), Mississippi (18 cents), Tennessee (20 cents), Kentucky (30 cents), Virginia (30 cents), Florida (33.9 cents), Iowa (36 cents), and Louisiana (36 cents).

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids urges states to continue to increase tobacco taxes as a proven way to reduce smoking, save lives and raise revenue. The Campaign also urges states to use enough of their tobacco tax and tobacco settlement revenues to fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs at levels recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Currently, only three states - Maine, Delaware and Mississippi - fund tobacco prevention programs at CDC-recommended levels.

'Cigarette tax increases continue to be a win-win-win solution for states - a health win that reduces smoking and saves lives, a fiscal win that raises much-needed revenue, and a political win that is popular with the voters,' said William V. Corr, Executive Director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. 'It's time for every state that has not done so in recent years to increase its cigarette tax and join the growing movement to reduce smoking, improve health and save lives. It's also only right that more of this tobacco revenue be used to prevent kids from starting to smoke and help smokers quit.'

Tobacco use is the nation's leading preventable cause of death, claiming more than 400,000 lives and costing the nation more than $89 billion in health care bills each year. Despite recent progress in reducing youth smoking, about 22 percent of high school students still smoke and another 2,000 kids become regular smokers every day. Increasing the cigarette tax is a proven way for states to reduce smoking rates and its devastating health and financial consequences.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please call Jennifer Friedman at 202-296-5469.