Growing Deficit Numbers Show Urgent Need to Raise Revenue By Increasing Kansas' Tobacco Tax $1

Saturday, April 17, 2010 Alcohol & Drug Abuse News
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Tobacco taxes would bring in nearly $100 million in new revenue, reduce youth tobacco use

TOPEKA, Kan, April 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Newly announced budget projections show the need to raise Kansas' cigarette tax by $1, according to a coalition of public health groups. Studies show increasing the cigarette tax by $1 would bring in $74.7 million in needed revenue, while raising the tax at a similar rate on smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products would raise an additional $23 million.

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"These numbers are a wake-up call for legislators and the Governor. We strongly urge them to listen to the overwhelming majority of Kansans who want to raise the tobacco tax instead of cutting critical programs," said Jodi Radke, Regional Advocacy Director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "Kansas faces a fiscal mess unless we support smart policies that will bring in new revenue. Raising the tobacco tax would cut the deficit while protecting kids from tobacco and reducing tobacco-related health care costs at the same time."

A recently released survey of Kansas voters found that 69 percent support raising the cigarette tax by $1, including 71 percent of Republicans, 73 percent of Democrats, and 59 percent of Independents. Another 81 percent support an increase in smokeless tobacco products that equals that increase. The poll was released by a coalition of groups including the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

"Increasing the tobacco tax is truly a win-win-win for Kansas - a budget win, a health win and a political win that is popular with the voters," said Radke.

A recent report by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other public health organizations found that a $1 increase in Kansas's cigarette tax would raise nearly $75 million in new annual revenue. Such an increase would also prevent 21,600 Kansas kids from smoking, save 10,000 state residents from premature, smoking-caused deaths and save $492 million in tobacco-related health care costs (for more information, go to www.tobaccofreekids.org/winwinwin). An increase in the tax on smokeless tobacco would have additional revenue and health benefits.

Kansas's current cigarette tax is 79 cents per pack, which ranks 36th in the nation and is well below the national average of $1.40 per pack.

SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids


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