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Florida's $1 Cigarette Tax Increase a Big Win for Public Health
Date:5/28/2009

WASHINGTON, May 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The State of Florida took a major step forward to save lives and protect children yesterday when Governor Charlie Crist signed a $1 per pack surcharge into law. Additionally, the governor and legislature through the budget dramatically increased funding for smoking cessation services for Floridians, including monies for the state's toll-free QuitLine (877-U-CAN-NOW).

Florida's cigarette tax had been the fourth lowest in the nation. When the surcharge goes into effect July 1, Florida's taxes will rank 22nd.

"You cannot be serious about cancer control if you are not serious about tobacco control, and today the governor and the Florida Legislature proved their mettle in that regard," said Marty Larsen, chairman of the Board and president of the American Cancer Society's Florida Division. "This will reduce smoking and save lives."

The American Cancer Society, along with its advocacy affiliate the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and other coalition partners, advocated for this increase as a way to improve the public's health. The statistics dramatically illustrate the significance of today's action: A $1 per pack surcharge right on the heels of, and in combination with, the recent federal cigarette tax increase will prompt 175,900 Floridians to quit smoking, and it will prevent 303,300 children from taking up the deadly habit. A total of 143,500 tobacco-related deaths will be avoided.

The increased tax will generate approximately $945 million in revenue for the state in the first year. The long-term health impact savings for the state from adult and youth smoking decline is estimated to be $6.9 billion.

Florida is the sixth state to increase its cigarette tax this year. In February, Arkansas increased its tax by 56 cents and Kentucky increased its tobacco tax by 30 cents, doubling the state tax to 60 cents per pack. In Apr
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SOURCE American Cancer Society
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