New Illinois coalition supports cigarette tax increase


Health savings could exceed $3 billion

(NORTHBROOK, IL, May 25, 2005) The American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), an international medical society with over 650 members in Illinois, along with more than a dozen Illinois-based public health, education, and environmental groups, today announced their support of a statewide increase on cigarette tax. The newly formed Coalition to Reduce Tobacco's Toll (CRTT) is calling for a tax increase of $1.00 per pack on cigarettes, which would generate an estimated $456 million in new revenue. Coalition members also are urging lawmakers to allocate 25 percent of the new tax increase revenue for tobacco prevention and cessation programs, with the remaining 75 percent allocated for school construction and transportation in Illinois.

"Cigarette use has an extremely broad and permeating impact on society. Smokers may suffer from and eventually succumb to the health effects of their habit, but our communities will continue to suffer from the long-term economic ramifications smoking has on our nation's health-care system," said ACCP Illinois Member and lung transplant surgeon, Wickii Vigneswaran, MD, FCCP, Loyola University Medical Center. "By making it more difficult for smokers to afford cigarettes and supporting their efforts to stop smoking, we will, ultimately, see long-term health and economic improvements within our communities."

According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, it is estimated that for every 10 percent cigarette price increase, youth smoking rates are reduced by 6.5 percent, adult rates by 2 percent, and total cigarette consumption rates are reduced by 4 percent.

"A cigarette tax increase would have a tremendous impact on the health of Illinois residents, particularly women, children, and minorities, groups that have, historically, been hardest hit by the effects of tobacco use," said Matt Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "The cigarette tax increase proposed by the coalition would decrease the number of Illinois adult smokers by 87,800, prevent nearly 150,000 Illinois children alive today from becoming smokers, and would lead to overall health-care savings of more than $3.1 billion."

Led by the ACCP, CRTT includes the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association Greater Midwest Affiliate, American Lung Association of Illinois, American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Chicago Asthma Consortium, Healthy Schools Campaign, Illinois Academy of Family Physicians, Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Illinois Coalition Against Tobacco, Kane County Regional Office of Education, Legislative Education Network of Dupage, and People for Community Recovery.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only a fully-funded, comprehensive approach to tobacco control will effectively reduce tobacco use across all groups, including men, women, children, ethnic minorities, and uninsured smokers. The CDC estimates that Illinois needs to allocate $65-179 million annually for tobacco control, but the state's fiscal year budget was only $11 million.

"Tobacco use is still the number one public health crises in Illinois, costing the state more than $3.8 billion in direct health-care costs and $1.5 billion in Medicaid," said Diana Hackbarth, PhD, RN, Chair, Illinois Coalition Against Tobacco. "Using just $.25 of the tax increase would generate $114 million, which represents 65 percent of the spending recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

For more information about CRTT, please contact the American College of Chest Physicians at (847) 498-8306.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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