Hiking cigarette taxes by $1 a pack — a move backed by 67 percent of voters — would allow cash-strapped U.S. states to raise more than $9 billion annually, according to a new report by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK).
The report also says that higher tobacco taxes would help prevent children from starting to smoke and predicted that price increases would prompt more than 1.2 million adults to quit.
Decreased smoking would, in turn, save $52.8 billion in healthcare costs, according to CTFK. “This report shows that raising tobacco taxes is truly a win-win-win for the states. It is a budget win that will help protect vital programs like health care and education, a health win that will prevent kids from smoking and save lives, and a political win with the voters,” said CTFK President Matthew L. Myers.
States now tax cigarettes at an average rate of $1.34 per pack, ranging from 7 cents in South Carolina to $3.46 per pack in Rhode Island.