Idaho Leaders Urged to Increase Cigarette Tax by $1.25
WASHINGTON, March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Kids in Idaho will take center stage in the fight against tobacco on March 23 as they join thousands of young people nationwide for the 16th annual Kick Butts Day. Hundreds of events are planned across the nation (for a list of local events see below).
Sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Kick Butts Day is an annual celebration of youth leadership and activism in the fight against tobacco use. Kids are sending two powerful messages on Kick Butts Day: They want the tobacco companies to stop targeting them with marketing for cigarettes and other tobacco products, and they want elected leaders to do more to protect them from tobacco.
In Idaho, health advocates are calling on state leaders to increase the cigarette tax by $1.25 per pack in order to prevent kids from smoking and raise much-needed revenue to address the state's budget shortfall and fund critical programs such as health care and education. According to a report by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a $1.25 cigarette tax increase in Idaho would have the following benefits:
Raise $48.2 million in new annual revenue;
Prevent 12,500 kids from becoming smokers;
Spur 7,800 current adult smokers to quit;
Save 6,000 residents from premature, smoking-caused deaths; and
Save $292.9 million in health care costs.
"On Kick Butts Day, kids are standing up to the tobacco companies, and elected officials should stand with them by supporting proven tobacco prevention measures," said Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "We know what works to reduce smoking and other tobacco use. Every state should implement these proven solutions, including higher tobacco taxes, well-funded tobacco prevention programs and smoke-free air laws."
Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 people and costing $96 billion in health care bills each year. While the nation has made significant progress in reducing youth smoking, 19.5 percent of high school students still smoke.
In Idaho, tobacco use claims 1,500 lives and costs $319 million in health care bills each year. Currently, 14.5 percent of the state's high school students smoke, and 5,400 kids try cigarettes for the first time each year.
On Kick Butts Day, kids turn the tables on Big Tobacco with events that range from "They put WHAT in a cigarette?" demonstrations to carnivals to rallies at state capitols. Activities in Idaho include (all events are on March 23 unless otherwise noted):
On March 22, students at Idaho Distance Education Academy will spend the night skating at Skate Plaza in Coeur d'Alene and pledging to say no to tobacco and tobacco products. Students will present visual displays to educate their peers about the dangers of using tobacco and tobacco products. Time: 4 PM. Location: 5685 North Pioneer Drive, Coeur d'Alene. Contact: Karen Ashenbrenner (208) 661-5099.