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Smokers Have Greater Incentive to Quit, as Big Tobacco Tax Hike Goes Into Effect Today
Date:4/1/2009

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.

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SOURCE Independence Blue Cross
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