SALT LAKE CITY, Sept. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- President Obama has proposed to expand early childhood education and fund it with an increase in federal tobacco taxes. In Utah, this initiative would provide 4,135 more children from low- and moderate-income families with access to high-quality preschool in the first year alone and prevent 9,900 kids from becoming addicted smokers, according to a report released today by nine organizations that focus on early learning and/or public health.
Additional Utah benefits include:
- Additional funds provided for preschool in the first year: $33.8 million
- Residents saved from premature, smoking-caused deaths: 5,100
In his fiscal year 2014 budget, President Obama proposed to expand federal funding for early education programs, paid for with a 94-cent per pack increase in the federal cigarette tax and a proportional increase in the federal tax on other tobacco products. "Taken together, these two measures would help ensure a future of smart, healthy kids nationwide and in every state," the report concludes.
The report can be found at www.smarthealthykids.org. It details the educational and health benefits of the President's proposal nationwide and in every state.
Nationwide, the President's proposal would ensure that two million children in low- and moderate-income families have access to high-quality preschool and prevent 1.7 million kids from becoming addicted smokers.
"History tells us that raising tobacco taxes is one of the most effective ways to reduce tobacco use," said Brook Carlisle, Utah Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. She went on to say that, "In Utah alone, this proposed tax increase would prevent nearly 10,000 kids from becoming addicted adult smokers and would lead to over 7,000 adult smokers quitting."
"Here in Utah, only 40 percent of three and four-year-olds are currently enrolled in preschool," stated Karen Crompton, President of Voices for Utah Children. She added that "Well-off, well-educated families who can afford pre-K education are sending their children to preschool. We know that too many working parents can't afford high-quality preschool for their children."
Organizations releasing the report are the National Women's Law Center, Save the Children, MomsRising, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and American Academy of Pediatrics.
The President's proposal would address two major challenges facing America's children: Too few have access to high-quality preschool programs, while too many still smoke.
Less than half of four-year-olds are currently enrolled in public preschool programs, and many of these programs are not high quality. Numerous studies show that children who have a high-quality preschool experience perform better on cognitive tests in elementary and secondary school, are more likely to graduate from high school, go to college, be employed and be in good health, and are less likely to become involved with crime or have to rely on public assistance.
The proposed increase in tobacco taxes would significantly reduce smoking and other tobacco use, which is the nation's leading preventable cause of death. Tobacco use kills more than 400,000 Americans every year and costs the nation $96 billion in health care bills. Every day, more than 3,500 U.S. youth try their first cigarette.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Name: Brook Carlisle
Organization: American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Phone: (801) 493-4719
Cell: (801) 205-8551
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids