Nebraska Leaders Urged to Increase Cigarette Tax by $1.35
WASHINGTON, March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kids in Nebraska 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 Nebraska, health advocates are calling on state leaders to increase the cigarette tax by $1.35 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 $1.35 cigarette tax increase in Nebraska would have the following benefits:
- Raise $72.9 million in new annual revenue;
- Prevent 19,500 kids from becoming smokers;
- Spur 10,000 current adult smokers to quit;
- Save 8,800 residents from premature, smoking-caused deaths; and
- Save $436.3 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 Nebraska, tobacco use claims 2,200 lives and costs $537 million in health care bills each year. Currently, 22.3 percent of the state's high school students smoke, and 8,100 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 Nebraska include (all events are on March 23 unless otherwise noted):
Students from Doniphan-Trumbull and Heartland Lutheran High Schools will greet customers as they enter the Hy-Vee in Grand Island to educate them about the hazardous effects of second and thirdhand smoke and pass out QUIT NOW cards to encourage tobacco users to take the steps to quit tobacco. Time: 11:30 AM. Location: 115 Wilmar Avenue, Grand Island. Contact: Sandy Yager (308) 390-8604.
Note to the media: For a list of Kick Butts Day events in Nebraska, visit www.kickbuttsday.org/events. Additional information about tobacco, including state-by-state statistics, can be found at www.tobaccofreekids.org.
Graham Harrison, 202-745-5062
Ashley Rockhold, 202-296-5469
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids