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Rhode Island Cigarette Tax Increase Delivers Victory for Kids and Taxpayers; $1 Increase Gives State Highest Cigarette Tax in the Nation
Date:4/8/2009

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

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

Rhode Island's leaders have taken decisive action to protect the state's kids and taxpayers from the devastating toll of tobacco use by increasing the state cigarette tax by $1 to $3.46 per pack, making it the highest state cigarette tax in the nation. Rhode Island is also increasing the tax on most other tobacco products. Increased tobacco taxes are a win-win-win solution for Rhode Island -- a health win that will reduce tobacco use and save lives, a financial win that will raise revenue to help alleviate budget shortfalls, 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. Rhode Island can expect the $1 cigarette tax increase to prevent more than 7,300 Rhode Island kids from smoking; spur 3,400 Rhode Island smokers to quit for good; save more than 3,200 Rhode Island residents from future smoking-caused deaths; produce $160 million in long-term health care savings; and raise about $13.3 million a year in new state revenue.

Governor Don Carcieri had proposed the increase in the cigarette tax in a fiscal year 2009 supplemental budget he submitted earlier this year. The state Legislature approved the tobacco tax increases last week, adding increases in taxes on other tobacco products and protecting Rhode Island's minimum pricing laws, measures which help thwart big tobacco's efforts to addict kids. This week Gove
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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