Tobacco use is a serious public health threat. Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. More people die from tobacco than AIDS, alcohol, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined each year. Tobacco taxes are a proven way to discourage youth from smoking and encourage adults to quit. Tobacco taxes are good for health, good for people (youth and adults), and good for the states’ bottom line. In fact, raising taxes on tobacco is the most effective policy to reduce tobacco use. It is also the most cost-effective (WHO, 2014).
Nebraska ranks 38th out of 50 in tobacco taxes, making it one of the lowest tobacco taxes in the country at only $0.64 per pack. The national average on tobacco tax is $1.53 per pack. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids: the highest combined state-local tax rate is $6.16 per pack in Chicago, IL, with New York City second at $5.85 per pack. According to Go Healthy Nebraska, “Studies, and experience in state after state, show that higher cigarette taxes are one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking among both youth and adults. Every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces youth smoking by about seven percent and overall cigarette consumption by about four percent.”
The American Cancer Society’s advocacy arm released a poll last Fall that said 68 percent of likely voters in Nebraska support an increase, while 29 percent oppose it. To watch the whole story, visit: http://www.ketv.com/news/advocates-call-for-nebraska-tobacco-tax-increase/22510102#!SQ4k6.
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