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No April Fooling: Higher Taxes On Tobacco Really Do Reduce Smoking, Says American Lung Association of Upper Midwest

CHICAGO, March 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The federal excise tax on tobacco is increasing on April 1, 2009, a change that may cause many smokers already thinking about quitting. The American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest is pleased with the federal tax increase, and encourages state legislators to follow suit and pass pending bills that would increase taxes or user fees on tobacco products. It also is providing smokers with the Lung Help Line, a free telephone hotline for anyone who wants to quit: 1-800-548-8252.

"Research tells us that a ten percent increase in the price of a pack of cigarettes can reduce youth smoking by seven percent, and adult smoking up to five percent," said Harold Wimmer, CEO of the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest. "Nationwide, nearly 20 percent of our high school students smoke, and in some regions the percentage is even higher. If they don't stop and continue to smoke through adulthood, half will die of smoking related illnesses."

The federal excise tax will fund a continuation and expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, a program to provide basic health care coverage to children from low-income families that passed Congress with broad bi-partisan support and was signed into law by President Obama. As a result, four million additional American children will be covered by the program.

Many states in the region are considering vital legislation involving tobacco this session. Illinois is considering raising state taxes on tobacco, Wisconsin lawmakers are debating a statewide smoke-free law similar to the one recently passed in South Dakota. North Dakota is seeking to implement a public referendum passed last year that would make the state one of the few to nation to fully fund tobacco control and prevention programs at levels recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

American Lung Association HelpLine link:

SOURCE American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest
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