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Health group pushes for cigarette tax increase

Posted May 17, 2010

A health advocacy group on Monday called for state lawmakers to raise cigarette taxes by $1 a pack, citing a study that says such an increase would generate millions in revenue while reducing the number of smokers.

The study by Frank Chaloupka, a tobacco policy expert at the University of Illinois at Chicago, shows significant cigarette tax increases produce substantial amounts of new revenue, both immediately and over extended periods of time, despite any related decreases in taxed state pack sales.

“This report joins the mountain of evidence showing why raising the cigarette tax is exactly what North Carolina needs to help tackle our budget problems,” Pam Seamans, executive director of the North Carolina Alliance for Health, said in a statement.

“A $1 cigarette tax increase would prevent 84,000 North Carolina kids from becoming smokers and prompt 52,000 adult smokers to quit. It would also prevent more than 40,000 smoking-caused deaths," Seamans said. "At the same time, the state would generate approximately $366.2 million in new annual revenue while realizing $1.9 billion in long-term health care savings.“

She noted that several states, including South Carolina, have recently raised tobacco taxes to deal with budget shortfalls.

“As we saw last week in South Carolina, more states are increasing the cigarette tax to raise revenue and protect vital programs like education and law enforcement from deep cuts,” she said.

Chaloupka's study was done in conjunction with the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and the North Carolina Alliance for Health.


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  • SaltyOldJarhead May 18, 2010

    People drink, smoke, and get fat because they choose to, it's as simple as that. Those who sincerely want to quit or lose weight can reach out and receive help on a number of private or public levels.

    It is a much different thing when people who smoke or drink or are overweight are told they must change "for the public good" or be punished economically. No person or group or government should have the right to do that in America.

    Our government needs to have people running it who will spend money frugally, never go in debt and always run with a surplus in the bank to help carry through bad economic times.

  • usnret May 17, 2010

    As a former alcohol counselor, I agree that alcohol does have its problems. As a retired respiratory therapist, I can assure that tobacco is far more useless, more deadly, and utilizes far more of our health care resources. Alcohol has an addiction rate of 8-12%, tobacco has an addiction rate of about 96% and is far more difficult to treat as an addiction.

  • wildcat May 17, 2010

    Thanks for allowing my comments. I appreciate it. Have a great evening.

  • wildcat May 17, 2010

    Today's parents are just plain lost in what their child is doing. Pray for these parents.

  • wildcat May 17, 2010

    I wonder how many cigarettes the health group smokes? Don't allow them to fool you. They do smoke.

  • wildcat May 17, 2010

    How many of your kids are actually sneaking around smoking? Check their room tonight and you might just find some evidence. The essence of smoke would be the first start. Start sniffing.

  • wildcat May 17, 2010

    fishon: Not to mention alot of irritated folks craving nicotine.

    Then just stay away from them. Simple as that.

  • wildcat May 17, 2010

    Hey, how about taxing all that sugary drinks that is too bad for ones health. That would be one start.

  • wildcat May 17, 2010


  • wildcat May 17, 2010

    Like sex kids will eventually try it whether they are ready or not. That goes the sames as smoking.