New Orleans, La. (PRWEB) April 06, 2015
In a financial climate where budgets and funding streams for vital health programs and services are continually cut, Louisiana has an opportunity to both create new funding for the state, as well as promote the health of its residents by raising the tobacco tax by $ 1.18.
Evidence strongly suggests that an increase in the states cigarette excise tax will lead to additional revenue, decreased smoking, and improved health for Louisiana, according to a newly published report from the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL), a program of the Louisiana Cancer Research Center (LCRC) and the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI). In fact, the 2002 cigarette tax increase of 36 cents resulted in a sharp decrease in cigarette pack consumption, leading to fewer purchases, more people quitting smoking, and an increase in revenue collected by the state.
For years, health advocates have been promoting the need to raise the tobacco tax in Louisiana, so the state can join the more than three dozen states who have taken this step over recent years, said Michael Johnson, Ph. D., Director for TFL. Currently, Louisianas tobacco tax rate sits at 36 cents per pack, ranking 49th among all states and Washington D.C. Raising the tax by $ 1.18 would bring us to $ 1.54 per pack, currently the national average, and move us from a ranking of 49th lowest cigarette tax in the country to 23rd in the country.
In Louisiana, more than 23% of adults and 12% of youth smoke cigarettes the only consumer product that, when used as directed, will kill half of all users. In fact, more than 7,200 adults die each year and 98,000 youth now under age 18 will ultimately die prematurely from smoking in Louisiana. But by increasing the tobacco tax by $ 1.18, the state could save lives and have a major public health impact: