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New Report: Increasing Mississippi's Cigarette Tax Will Reduce Smoking, Save Lives and Save Money
Date:6/23/2008

$1 Increase Would Generate More Than $150 Million in New Revenue for Medicaid

WASHINGTON, June 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As Mississippi's leaders begin working next week to resolve a projected state budget deficit, a report released today finds that a proposed $1 cigarette tax increase would raise more than $150 million in new revenue to fund Medicaid and also drastically reduce youth smoking, cause many smokers to quit, reduce tobacco-related health care costs and save thousands of lives.

The 32-page report by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids - titled "Tobacco Tax Benefits for Mississippi: Reducing Smoking, Saving Lives, and Saving Money" - finds that a $1 cigarette tax increase would:

* Prevent more than 45,000 Mississippi kids from becoming smokers;

* Spur 26,000 current adult smokers to quit for good;

* Save more than 21,000 Mississippi residents from premature, smoking-caused deaths;

* Raise more than $150 million in new revenue;

* Produce more than $1 billion in long-term health care savings, including $208 million in Medicaid savings.

The Mississippi Legislature returns to Jackson next week for a special session to resolve a $90 million budget shortfall triggered by a Medicaid funding crisis. The Mississippi House has proposed increasing the state cigarette tax by $1 per pack, while Governor Haley Barbour's plan calls for increasing the hospital bed tax - the cost of which could be passed on to patients and cause health insurance costs to rise, according to news reports.

"This report provides powerful evidence that increasing the cigarette tax by $1 will improve both the physical and financial health of Mississippi for generations to come," said William V. Corr, Executive Director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "We strongly urge Mississippi leaders to pass this life-saving measure and dedicate a portion of the new revenue to the state's tobacco prevention efforts."

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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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