WASHINGTON, D.C. -- July 11, 2007 -- "The bipartisan agreement by the Senate Finance Committee to raise the federal tobacco tax by 61 cents adds important momentum to the effort to fund the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in a way that also will protect public health. We commend the committee members for endorsing the first increase in the federal tobacco tax since 2002, and we encourage the committee to formally approve this plan when it considers the SCHIP bill Tuesday.
"Raising the price of cigarettes is a proven way to get people to quit smoking. For every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes there is a 7 percent drop in youth smoking rates and a 4 percent decline in overall cigarette consumption. The result is improved public health and enormous savings in the costs of treating people with life-threatening smoking-related illnesses.
"Increasing the federal tobacco tax by 61 cents bringing the total tax to $1 would reduce the costs of smoking-related pregnancy complications by $900 million nationally over 10 years. The tobacco tax increase would save $723 million nationally in treating lung cancer and would save states and the federal government nearly $20 billion in tobacco-related Medicaid expenses over 10 years.
"The tobacco industry, worried about lower profits and a declining consumer base, predictably opposes an increase in the tobacco tax. Let’s not be fooled by an industry whose products kill more than 440,000 Americans each year. Congress must increase the federal tobacco tax to improve public health and increase the number of children with health insurance."
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network is the nonprofit, nonpartisan sister advocacy organization of the American Cancer Society, which is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage lawmakers, candidates and government officials to support laws and policies that will make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.