Independence Blue Cross offers resources to quit smoking for a healthier lifestyle
PHILADELPHIA, April 1 /PRNewswire/ -- The federal tax on a pack of cigarettes has gone up to just over a dollar with the increase that went into effect today, and might be just the push smokers need to kick the habit. Independence Blue Cross offers members help in many ways to stop using tobacco products.
Quitting smoking not only saves money, it saves lives. Approximately one in five adults in the United States smokes cigarettes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says cigarette smoking results in an estimated 443,000 premature deaths each year, and costs the economy $193 billion in health care expenses and lost time from work. Smoking is also widely known to cause or contribute to heart disease, certain cancers, and lung disease.
The federal tax on cigarettes, which had been 39 cents per pack, was raised 62 cents today to $1.01 -- the biggest cigarette tax increase in history. The tax will help fund national health care programs for children. Pennsylvania already charges another $1.63 in state taxes to the cost of a pack of cigarettes, which means a typical pack now costs close to $6.50. Smokers in the state who quit a pack-a-day habit would save about $2,370 per year.
The federal tax on smokeless tobacco increased today from 19 cents a pound to 50 cents a pound. Smokeless tobacco is just as addictive as cigarettes. Those who use smokeless tobacco are at increased risk for other serious health conditions such as tooth decay, gum disease, and cancers of the lip, tongue, cheeks, and throat.
"Sadly, people choose to smoke or chew tobacco despite their awareness of the benefits of quitting -- breathing easier, suffering fewer serious illnesses, and living a longer life," said Dr. Esther Nash, senior medical director, Independence Blue Cross. "But successful attempts to quit are often inspired by a strong motivator, like a personal health scare. We're hoping the tax hike pushes more smokers to seek help quitting and we stand ready to help."
Independence Blue Cross helps members kick the habit through:
For more information about quitting, IBC members can call the Health Resource Center at 1-800-ASK-BLUE.
Non-IBC members who use tobacco products can find plenty of online resources to help them quit. They can also order a free copy of "Clearing the Air," a self-study booklet from the National Cancer Institute with information on what to expect, avoiding weight gain, and fighting the urge to smoke. Call 1-800-4-CANCER.
About Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.4 million people. For more than 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.
Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. More information about Independence Blue Cross is available at www.ibx.com.
|SOURCE Independence Blue Cross|
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