Increase Louisiana’s Tobacco Tax, Increase Our Health Say TFL

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$1.18 Increase per pack would result in $223.5 million in added state revenue according to new report released today by TFL

“For years, health advocates have been promoting the need to raise the tobacco tax in Louisiana, so the state can join the more than three dozen states who have taken this step over recent years,” said Michael Johnson, Ph. D., Director for TFL.

In a financial climate where budgets and funding streams for vital health programs and services are continually cut, Louisiana has an opportunity to both create new funding for the state, as well as promote the health of its residents by raising the tobacco tax by $1.18.

Evidence strongly suggests that an increase in the state’s cigarette excise tax will lead to additional revenue, decreased smoking, and improved health for Louisiana, according to a newly published report from the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL), a program of the Louisiana Cancer Research Center (LCRC) and the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI). In fact, the 2002 cigarette tax increase of 36 cents resulted in a sharp decrease in cigarette pack consumption, leading to fewer purchases, more people quitting smoking, and an increase in revenue collected by the state.

“For years, health advocates have been promoting the need to raise the tobacco tax in Louisiana, so the state can join the more than three dozen states who have taken this step over recent years,” said Michael Johnson, Ph. D., Director for TFL. “Currently, Louisiana’s tobacco tax rate sits at 36 cents per pack, ranking 49th among all states and Washington D.C. Raising the tax by $1.18 would bring us to $1.54 per pack, currently the national average, and move us from a ranking of 49th lowest cigarette tax in the country to 23rd in the country.”

In Louisiana, more than 23% of adults and 12% of youth smoke cigarettes – the only consumer product that, when used as directed, will kill half of all users. In fact, more than 7,200 adults die each year and 98,000 youth now under age 18 will ultimately die prematurely from smoking in Louisiana. But by increasing the tobacco tax by $1.18, the state could save lives and have a major public health impact:

  •     43,000 current adult smokers would quit
  •     22,300 fewer premature deaths from smoking
  •     17.9 percent decrease in youth smoking
  •     $1.48 billion saved in long-term health care costs
  •     $223.5 million in annual revenue to offset smoking-related costs

To access the full report, click here or visit http://www.lphi.org.

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The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living
The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Tobacco Control Program (LTCP) coordinate their efforts in tobacco prevention and control by providing statewide coordination of existing tobacco control initiatives, funding innovative community programs for tobacco control, offering services for people who are ready to quit and developing statewide media campaigns to help reduce the excessive burden of tobacco use on the state’s resources and improve the overall health and quality of life in Louisiana. For more information visit http://www.tobaccofreeliving.org. To find out more about the dangers of secondhand smoke and show your support for a 100-percent smoke-free Louisiana, visit http://www.letsbetotallyclear.org.

About the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium (LCRC)
The Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium of New Orleans provides a structure in which Tulane University Health Sciences Center and Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center - the state's two leading medical research institutions - will work together and coordinate cancer research development in preparation for recognition as a National Cancer Institute (NCI) - Designated Cancer Center. The consortium is funded through five cents of the tobacco excise tax, three cents to fund infrastructure and cancer research program development for the new Consortium and two cents for tobacco control and prevention programs. Conservative estimates indicate that approximately $10 million per year will be generated from this revenue source. For more information, visit http://www.lcrc.info

About the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI)
Founded in 1997, The Louisiana Public Health Institute’s mission is to promote and improve the health and quality of life in Louisiana through public-private partnering at the community, parish and state levels. By fostering collaborative endeavors in the areas of health information, public policy, applied research, and community capacity enhancement, LPHI works to develop community-oriented solutions that improve the health of the Louisiana population. For more information, visit http://www.lphi.org.

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Mary M. Fein
Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI)
+1 (504) 301-9814
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