WASHINGTON, June 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:
Governor David Paterson and the New York Legislature have taken historic action to protect the state's kids and taxpayers from the devastating toll of tobacco use by increasing the state cigarette tax by $1.60 to $4.35 per pack. This increase will give New York the highest cigarette tax in the nation and continues New York's national leadership in the fight against tobacco use, the number one cause of preventable death in the United States.
The state is also increasing the tax on other tobacco products and taking action to ensure that taxes are properly paid on cigarettes sold by Native American tribes to non-tribal members. Together, these actions will prevent kids from smoking and using other tobacco products, motivate smokers to quit, and save lives and health care dollars.
However, the increase in the state tobacco tax makes it more important than ever that New York increase funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. The new cigarette tax increase will motivate more smokers to quit and seek help in doing so. The Legislature and Governor should do everything to ensure that smokers motivated by the tax increase to try to quit receive the help they need and kids are prevented from starting.
The tobacco tax increase is a win-win-win solution for New York – a health win that will reduce tobacco use and save lives, a financial win that will help to balance the state budget and fund essential programs, and a political win that polls show is popular with the voters. Studies show that every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces youth smoking by about 6.5 percent and overall cigarette consumption by about four percent. New York can expect the per pack $1.60 cigarette tax increase to bring in $210.3 million in new annual revenue.
In New York, tobacco annually claims 25,400 lives and costs the state $8.2 billion in health care bills. While New York has made significant progress in reducing smoking, 14.8 percent of New York high school students still smoke, and 85,000 kids try cigarettes for the first time each year.
With New York's increase, the average state cigarette tax will be $1.45 per pack. New York is the sixth state to increase its cigarette tax this year, joining Utah ($1 increase), New Mexico (75 cents), Washington ($1), Hawai'i (40 cents) and South Carolina (50 cents).
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids