New tobacco tax increase, highest ever - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/30/09

New tobacco tax increase, highest ever

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - On Wednesday April 1, the single largest federal tobacco tax increase will go into effect. This tax boost will increase packs of cigarettes by $0.61 and around a $6.10 increase on cartons of cigarettes.

A puff of your cigarette could now cost you more than ever. "Cigarettes are going to be the least hit this time around," said Nothin' Butt Smokes District Manager Michele Casanova. 

Casanova says this time it's the tobacco itself taking the biggest hit. The increase breaks down to about $0.61 per cigarette package. "Most of the stores have already taken the increase on the cigarettes so most won't see an increase on April 1st," she said.   

Grant Wallace with the Lubbock branch of the American Cancer Society says he is thrilled with the tax increase. He says in Texas alone this increase will prevent 150,000 kids from becoming new smokers and will cause nearly 75,000 adults to quit. "That's huge when you consider that smoking causes 400,000 deaths and it's the most preventable cause of death our country sees right now. 1/3 of all cancers are directly related to tobacco and you ultimately see that $96 billion of health care costs are directly related to tobacco," he said.

All of the extra tax increase will go towards the state's health insurance for children. "The most vulnerable of our children who don't have any other access health insurance will get this state health insurance," said Wallace. 

The American Cancer Society is urging Congress to empower the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco.

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