The AARC is on board with legislation forming in the U.S. Senate to raise the cigarette tax by 61 cents per pack.
The move is intended to help fund the State Children?s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), but the AARC and its partners in the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids believe it could make a significant dent in the number of children and adults who smoke as well.
According to the Campaign, youth smoking drops by seven percent with every ten percent rise in the tax, and overall cigarette consumption declines by about four percent. The proposed 61 cent increase would effectively prevent nearly 1.9 million kids from picking up the habit and help around 1.2 million adults kick it for good.
More than 900,000 smoking-related deaths would be prevented in the process, and long-term health care savings would amount to $43.9 billion.
The Campaign reports strong support for such a tax increase as well. Their recent survey found 67 percent of voters would approve of a 75 cent per pack increase to help insure children. The support reached across all demographic and political lines.
?A higher cigarette tax is a win-win-win solution for the country — a health win that will reduce tobacco use and save lives, a financial win that will raise revenue to help fund the SCHIP program, and a political win that is popular with voters,? notes Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Executive Director William V. Corr.
The tax increase is being developed by Senate Finance Committee. Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) is expected to formally introduce a bill next week.