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Congress Delivers Historic Victory for Children's Health by Increasing Tobacco Taxes to Fund SCHIP Program
Date:2/4/2009

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080918/CFTFKLOGO)

The Congress and President Obama today are delivering a historic victory for the health of America's kids by increasing federal tobacco taxes, including a 62-cent increase in the cigarette tax, and expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This legislation will create a healthier future for millions of children by reducing tobacco use -- the number one cause of preventable death in America -- and expanding health care coverage for kids. The House of Representatives gave final approval to the legislation today, and President Obama is scheduled to sign it into law this afternoon.

Increasing tobacco taxes is a proven strategy to reduce smoking and other tobacco use, especially among children. Studies show that every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces youth smoking by 7 percent and overall cigarette consumption by about 4 percent.

The cigarette tax increase will lead to nearly two million fewer kids starting to smoke, help more than one million adult smokers quit, prevent nearly 900,000 smoking-caused deaths and produce $44.5 billion in long-term health care savings by reducing tobacco-caused health care costs. It is further good news that the final legislation immediately increases the tax on so-called "little cigars" to $1.01 per pack, the same rate as for cigarettes, addressing a disparity that has made little cigars cheaper and more appealing to kids.

Higher tobacco taxes are 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 r
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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