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Mississippi Tobacco Tax Increase is a Victory for Kids and Taxpayers
Date:5/13/2009

n long-term health care savings, and raise $94 million a year in new revenue.

In addition to further increasing state tobacco taxes, Mississippi leaders should also use some of the tobacco tax revenue to increase funding for the state's tobacco prevention and cessation program. Mississippi once had one of the nation's most effective tobacco prevention programs, but has yet to restore funding after 2006 budget cuts. Mississippi currently spends $10.7 million a year on tobacco prevention programs, which is just 27.3 percent of the $39.2 million recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in Mississippi, claiming 4,700 lives each year and costing the state $719 million annually in health care bills, including $264 million in Medicaid payments alone. Government expenditures related to tobacco amount to a hidden tax of $559 each year on every Mississippi household. In addition, more than 19 percent of Mississippi high school students currently smoke, 14,100 Mississippi kids try smoking for the first time each year, and 4,200 more kids become regular smokers every year.

Counting the Mississippi increase and a cigarette tax increase awaiting the governor's signature in Florida, the average state cigarette tax would be $1.27 per pack. Rhode Island has the highest state cigarette tax at $3.46 per pack. Twelve states and the District of Columbia have cigarette tax rates of at least $2 per pack, and 27 states and DC would have cigarette tax rates of at least $1 per pack or more.


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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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