Reducing and preventing Tobacco Use

Tobacco is responsible for roughly 1/3 of all cancer deaths -- or nearly 2,300 cancer deaths in Connecticut this year. 

Increasing the Age to Purchase Tobacco

Increasing the minimum sale age for tobacco products will prevent future generations of Connecticut kids from becoming addicted to deadly tobacco products. 

  • About 95% of smokers begin smoking before the age of 21, and about 1,500 kids in CT become new daily smokers each year. Delaying the age when people first experiment or begin using tobacco will reduce the chance that they ever become regular, daily tobacco users.
  • A March 2015 report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) strongly concluded that raising the tobacco age to 21 nationally would significantly reduce smoking prevalence by about 12% and smoking-related deaths by nearly 10%.
  • Because young adults (18-20) are a common source of tobacco for youth under 18, raising the tobacco age to 21 will reduce tobacco use among youth under age 19. In fact, according to the modeling conducted by IOM, the age group most positively impacted will be youth ages 15-17.
  • Tobacco companies intentionally market to kids and young adults in order to recruit “The next generation of smokers” and protect company profits. Increasing the tobacco sale age to 21 will help counter the efforts of the tobacco companies to target young people at a critical time when many move from experimenting to regular use.
  • The U.S. Army Surgeon General says soldiers who smoke are less combat ready and take longer to heal. Tobacco use among active duty military personnel has enormous physical and fiscal impacts on force readiness; it reduces soldiers’ fitness and endurance, and is linked to higher rates of absenteeism and lost productivity
  • California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Maine, Oregon and 260 localities have raised the minimum legal sale age for tobacco products to 21 (as of August 2017).
  • Preventing Connecticut kids from becoming addicted smokers would secure millions of dollars in future health care cost savings. In Connecticut, for each one percentage point decline in youth and adult smoking rates, future health care costs in Connecticut would be reduced by about $353.2 million.

Tobacco Control Funding

Comprehensive, well-funded tobacco control programs help prevent youth from starting to use tobacco products and support and promote cessation among current tobacco users.  ACS CAN recommends that states dedicate a portion of tobacco tax and other tobacco-related revenue for tobacco control.  However Connecticut is falling short, providing ZERO funding in the current state budget. 

  • The CDC recommends that Connecticut spend $32 million annually on tobacco prevention programs. 
  • Connecticut has cumulatively only spent $29.7 million over 16 years-$2.3 million below what the CDC recommends to be spent annually.
  • Connecticut collects an estimated $487.2 million annually in tobacco revenue through taxes and Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement payments.
  • The tobacco industry never stops marketing to kids because they know that almost all smokers start as minors.
  • The tobacco companies spend $80.4 million every year marketing their deadly products in Connecticut. That’s why we can’t let up in funding programs to protect our kids from tobacco.
  • Connecticut’s Tobacco and Health Trust Fund has been raided 67 times in the past 16 years for programs unrelated to tobacco control.
  • Tobacco prevention is one of the smartest and most fiscally responsible investments that states can make. 

Tobacco Taxes

Tobacco tax increases are one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking and other tobacco use, especially among kids. ACS CAN is working in Connecticut to continue increasing taxes on tobacco products and ensuring that cigars, smokeless tobacco and other products are taxed at the same rate as cigarettes.

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