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Overwhelming Majority of Virginia Voters Favor Increasing the Cigarette Tax to the National Average
Date:2/2/2009

the preferred solution to the state's revenue crisis," said Cathleen Smith Grzesiek, Director of Government Relations for the American Heart Association.

The poll also shows that Virginia voters will express their support for a cigarette tax increase at the voting booth. Overall, 62 percent of voters, including a majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents, are more likely to support a candidate who backs the tobacco tax proposal. Just 21 percent of voters are less likely to support a candidate who favors increasing the tobacco tax and 11 percent indicate that it would make no difference in their vote.

Tobacco-caused costs add more than $1.6 million per year to state tax bills - or more than $570 for each Virginia household. "By increasing the cigarette tax, Virginia will reduce smoking, save lives and help offset the health care costs caused by smoking," said David DeBiasi, Director of Advocacy and Public Education for the American Lung Association in Virginia.

Virginia currently ranks 47th in the nation with a tax of 30 cents per pack, far below the national average of $1.19. Large bodies of economic research, numerous expert panels, experience in other states, and even reports from the tobacco industry have concluded decisively that price increases effectively reduce smoking, especially among youth. The U.S. Surgeon General, in his 2000 report, Reducing Tobacco Use, concluded that raising cigarette taxes is widely regarded as one of the most effective tobacco prevention strategies and that such increases would lead to "substantial long-run improvements in health."

According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an 89-cent increase in Virginia's cigarette tax would prevent more than 60,000 Virginia kids alive today from premature death, addiction and disease caused by tobacco use. The additional revenue from 89 cents per pack would provide the state with an immediate boo
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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