Billings noted that taxes on tobacco have stopped millions of Americans from smoking or prompted them to quit. Twenty-five states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have taxes of a dollar or more per pack, and nine states have taxes of two dollars or more, he said. The highest tax is in New Jersey ($2.575 a pack). "South Carolina is the worst with only a seven-cent-a-pack tax," he said.
Aggressive anti-smoking campaigns are needed, Toomey said, to blunt the effects of the tobacco industry's aggressive marketing efforts. "The tobacco companies haven't let up," she said. "The five largest cigarette companies spent $13.1 billion annually in marketing their addictive deadly product in 2005."
Bill Phelps, a spokesman for Phillip Morris USA, said his company supports many of the American Lung Association's goals.
"We encourage states to fund smoking-prevention programs," said Phelps. "We also support the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act."
However, Philip Morris USA doesn't support raising tobacco taxes, Phelps said. "We believe funding programs with a declining revenue source -- cigarette sales have been declining for many years -- we don't think that raising taxes makes sense, and we oppose large increases in excise taxes," he said.
Pete Fisher, vice president for state issues at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, agrees with the report card's findings and what needs to be done.
"The report confirms again that, while we all know what to do to reduce tobacco use, what we need is political will and political leadership to do it," he said. "The report makes it clear that political leadership at the federal level and in many states has failed to enact the measures that we know will reduce tobacco use."
Fisher also believes that Congress should pas
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