Tax to "Save Lives"

By: Tyler Helms
By: Tyler Helms

The Mississippi Chapter of the American Cancer Society brought its "Communities for a Clean Bill of Health" campaign to Meridian High School on Wednesday.

ACS contens that the proposed increase in the excise tax could reduce the amount of tobacco use in youth by 20 percent.

"It’s about saving lives. It’s proven this is a way for people to not start smoking," said the American Cancer Society's communications director Allison Terrell. "It’s about people in Mississippi and youth to not begin smoking and ultimately saving lives."

A recent study at Mississippi State University found that 80 percent of Mississippians support the proposal. No legislation has been introduced.

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Economic analyses were performed using data from two surveys:

The 1993 College Alcohol Study, a nationally representative sample of 17,592 students in 140 U.S. colleges and universities.

The annual Monitoring the Future survey of twelfth graders in 1982 and eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders in 1992, totaling 60,000 respondents mostly ages 14 to 18.

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Tobacco Policy Research and Evaluation Program

Findings

  • Cigarette prices have a negative and statistically significant impact on smoking among youths and young adults.

  • Increased cigarette prices would lead to sharp reductions in cigarette smoking among eighth, tenth, and twelfth grade students, as well as among college students.

  • A 10 percent increase in price would reduce smoking among college students by more than 5 percent and reduce the number of cigarettes consumed among college-age smokers by approximately 4 to 8 percent.

  • Had a $0.75 per pack federal tax increase been imposed during the time period covered by this survey, and had it been fully passed on to smokers, smoking participation rates among college students would have fallen by approximately 22 percent.

  • Similarly, any increase in the price of cigarettes leads to significant reductions in smoking among teens.

  • For example, A 10 percent increase in price would reduce the number of teenagers who smoke by 7 percent.

  • A $0.43 hike in the federal excise tax rate on cigarettes would reduce the number of teenage smokers by 16 percent and the number of cigarettes consumed by approximately 14 percent.

  • Young men are more sensitive to price than young women, particularly in the youngest age group.

  • In the eighth, tenth, and twelfth grade surveys, black youth were found to be nearly three times more sensitive to price than their white counterparts.

  • This finding suggests that the significant increases in real cigarette prices over the past 13 years account for much of the relatively large decline in smoking participation among black youths.

  • Relatively stringent limits on smoking in public places can influence the decision to smoke by young adults.

  • Some restriction on smoking in public places will reduce the quantity of cigarettes smoked by smokers.

Source: www.rwjf.org (The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Web site) contributed to this report


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