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Hawaii Cigarette Tax Increase Delivers Victory for Kids and Taxpayers
Date:5/8/2009

WASHINGTON, May 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

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

Hawaii leaders have taken an important step to protect the state's kids and taxpayers from the devastating toll of tobacco use by increasing the state cigarette tax by 60 cents to $2.60 per pack on July 1 -- giving the state the third highest cigarette tax in the nation. The state cigarette tax will further increase by 20 cents per pack annually in July 2010 and July 2011, reaching a total of $3 per pack. Governor Linda Lingle signed the cigarette tax increase into law Thursday. The Hawaii Legislature later today is expected to vote on overriding the governor's veto of legislation to also increase the tax on most other tobacco products, which would discourage kids from purchasing lower-taxed, cheaper tobacco products.

Higher tobacco taxes are a win-win-win solution for Hawaii -- a health win that will reduce tobacco use and save lives, a financial win that will raise revenue for critical state programs, and a political win that polls show is popular with the voters.

The evidence is clear that increasing the cigarette tax is one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking, especially among kids. 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. Hawaii can expect the 60-cent cigarette tax increase to prevent more than 5,000 kids from smoking; spur 2,400 smokers to quit for good; save more than 2,200 residents from future smoking-caused deaths; produce $110 million in long-term health care savings; and raise about
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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