ACS CAN Testimony: $1.50 Per Pack Increase in D.C. Cigarette Tax to Save Lives, Cut Costs

ACS CAN joins coalition of advocates urging City Council to raise District’s tax on all tobacco products

May 3, 2024

Today, the Committee of the Whole in the Council of the District of Columbia will host a hearing where Committee members will consider, among others, a proposal to raise the cigarette tax by $1.50 per pack. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) has provided testimony to the Committee, citing the benefits that the proposal would bring to D.C., its residents and health care systems.  

Significant tobacco tax increases are one of the most effective ways to prevent kids from starting to use tobacco and help adults quit. Substantial increases in cigarette tax rates also generate new revenue. In fact, every state that has significantly increased its cigarette tax has also boosted its state revenue - even after accounting for revenue loss due to beneficial declines in cigarette purchases resulting from the tax increase.

According to a 2024 analysis by ACS CAN, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (TFK) and Tobacconomics, raising the cigarette tax by $1.50 per pack would deliver significant public health benefits, including:

  • A 10.6% decrease in youth smoking
  • 1,600 adults who smoke would quit
  • 400 lives saved
  • $540,000 in Medicaid program savings over the next five years
  • $24.83 million in long-term health care cost savings from the smoking declines as a result of the tax increase

“Over a quarter of all cancer deaths in D.C. are due to smoking,” said Lance Kilpatrick, D.C. Government Relations Director of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “ACS CAN calls on the City Council to stand up to Big Tobacco by supporting the proposal to increase the cigarette tax by at least $1.50 per pack along with an equivalent tax on all other tobacco products. If all products are not taxed equally, simply stated, D.C. can expect to see diminished positive outcomes as a result.”



The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that improves the lives of people with cancer and their families. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and advanced proven tobacco control measures. We’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. Join the fight by visiting

More Press Releases AboutTobacco Taxes, District Of Columbia

Media Contacts

Casey O'Neill
Sr. Regional Media Advocacy Manager