Tag Archives: tobacco taxes

Money on Fire

Funding Tobacco Control Programs Has Long-Term Payoff

States feel the economic effects of smoking through increased health and medical costs and lost productivity of its citizens.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that states fund tobacco control programs in order to reduce the economic burden of smoking’s effects.

Some states have been cutting back on the funding of these programs as a cost-saving measure. But a study reveals that it is cheaper for states in the long run to fund tobacco control programs than it is to not.

Economic Examination of Tobacco

The study used data collected between 1991 and 2007. During this time, tobacco control programs were financed using:

  • the tobacco tax;
  • money from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement; and
  • state and private funding.

Money on FireThe CDC recommends a dollar amount that states should be spending in order to make their tobacco control programs successful. The study notes that by 2010, states were spending on average merely 17% of the recommended amount by the CDC. Additionally, in recent years, the taxes consumers pay on cigarettes has become relied on more as a consistent stream of revenue for states.

So which is better economically: increasing revenue raised by selling cigarettes or spending millions of dollars on tobacco use prevention?

More Tax or More Spending?

The study concluded that following the CDCs recommendation would result in a savings for state governments of between 14 and 20% of the cost of tobacco control programs in the future.

These tobacco control programs have been shown to have a long-term effect on the demand for cigarettes and tobacco products. This trend only increases over time as the programs’ effectiveness has an impact and more and more people quit smoking. Tobacco control programs lower the economic costs of medical and insurance payouts for tobacco-related health problems, as well as the cost of lost productivity.

What is the Real Cost of Tobacco?

Watch this short video…

Reference: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/238304.php

Don’t Put That in Your Pipe and Smoke it

Matt Apuzzo, of the Associated Press reported on a tax loophole that many Big Tobacco manufactures quickly jumped on to reduce their tax base.

By cleverly changing product marketing they are effectively dodging taxes that would have gone to support the cost of children’s health insurance.

It didn’t take long for many makers of tobacco products to catch on. They switched gears immediately to take advantage of the different tax rates between cigarette tobacco and loose pipe tobacco.

Roll-your-own brands of loose tobacco like Criss Cross and Farmers Gold were quickly pulled from the shelves of the tobacco shops. In their place new types of pipe tobacco bearing the same labels almost instantaneously appeared.

We all know those who roll their own cigarettes will purchase the “new varieties” of pipe tobacco to beat the rising costs of smoking cigarettes.

What is most worrisome about this move is pipe tobacco is not banned from adding flavors like tobacco companies did to cigarettes.

Now that new types of flavored pipe tobaccos are finding their way on the shelves, this could ignite a whole new movement for hooking young smokers.

The new varieties of packaged pipe tobacco are also manufactured with a finer cut, suitable for rolling in flavors such as black cherry, vanilla, and who knows what else.

Popeye and his PipeThis move did not go unnoticed; The Obama administration is looking into tightening their definitions so hopefully the funding for children’s health care remains effective. This costly loophole may be causing as much as $32 million dollars of lost tax revenue each month because pipe tobacco sales are rising as roll-your-own sales are drastically being reduced.

The tobacco company tax dodging strategy has our wheels turning at CiggyFree.com. Next, we may see tobacco companies reinventing Popeye as their spokesperson. The new product campaigns may just offer disposable pipes that go along with disposable lighters combined with packets of flavored tobacco aimed at enticing young smokers. Would it surprise us? No!

Credit: Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press & Popeye Cartoons

Way to Go California – 1 800 No Butts at Your Service

California’s Example Provides Encouragement that Smokers Can Stop

Today in the LA Times, it was reported that the use of cigarettes in California is steadily declining.

Smoking statistics for adults have dropped since California passed a twenty-five cent tax on each pack of cigarettes.

Cigarette Taxes Encourage Quitting Smoking

The decline of adult smokers in California is at forty-one percent since the new tax, reported by data from the Department of Public Health.

pic-cigarette-notThis is great news and offers hope that the newly-passed government cigarette tax may just stop many smokers in their tracks.

Eric Bailey, from the LA Times states, “Anti-smoking advocates are celebrating this week’s 20th anniversary of California’s groundbreaking tobacco-control effort by releasing new data showing that cigarette use is continuing its steep decline in the Golden State.”

Last year only thirteen percent of California adults were addicted to cigarettes, which is a ten percent decrease since 1988. Another encouraging bit of data is the decline in youth smokers, which is currently a little over fourteen percent and one of the lowest percentages in the entire nation.

Way to go California!

No If’s or Butt’s About It

For those smokers who are wanting to quit, try calling the 1 800 No Butts quit smoking help line. Calls are currently up twenty-five percent since last year. This is another example that people are seriously considering the health hazards of smoking and the cost of their cigarette habits.

Our hats go off to 1 800 No Butts. Kimberly Belshe, Secretary of California’s Health and Human Services Agency, reported the estimates of lives saved through this program the last twenty years is as high as one million and over eighty-six billion dollars in health care expenses.

Credit for this article goes to the LA Times
For more information contact eric.bailey @ latimes.com

Watch a Short Video From California’s 1-800-No-Butts

 

The Winners and Losers – Largest Tobacco Tax Increase

It wasn’t so long ago that Measure 50 was put before a people’s vote in the state of Oregon.

If it had passed, Oregon would have received 85 cents from each pack of cigarettes sold in the state, with the funds marked for children’s health care programs (and other important programs needing funding in the state).

Unfortunately, Big Tobacco’s manipulative tactics and deep pockets sponsored heavy negative campaigns funded by over 11 million dollars donated from the major tobacco companies. They won by swaying the vote.

Tobacco Tax Increase, Largest in History

Today was a historical day. The government passed the largest cigarette tax increase in the history of tobacco taxes. With the passing of this new tax, Big Tobacco lost and the people won.

Most of the revenue created from the new tax will go toward children’s health care. Values are shifting, and steps are being taken to support our children.

This increase brings the federal cigarette tax from 39 cents a pack to $1.01 and it applies to all tobacco products.

Winners and Losers

Lighting UpThe only real loser is Big Tobacco.

Unfortunately, you will hear those who wish to protect Big Tobacco say, “Obama is breaking his promise not to raise taxes.”

Another complaint expressing victimization is: “The majority of smokers are those who are low to middle income. They cannot afford a tax increase in the current economic climate.”

The fact is, people have a choice to smoke or not to smoke. If they don’t want to pay the tax, then they can stop smoking. Perhaps this is just the push they need to finally quit smoking.

Here’s one response to the tax increase quoted in USA Today:

“I’m going to quit,” said Will Hues, 27, smoking a cigarette outside the convenience store. He said prices have gone up so much that “you’re out of your mind to pay it.”

Responses like Mr. Hues’ are some of the best news for those who advocate life. Currently, every eight seconds someone in the world dies from a tobacco-related disease. That is equivalent to twenty-seven 747 airplanes full of passengers crashing every day. Perhaps we will have one less daily crash with this tax increase. The lives saved are not just numbers, but people who will go on to live a better quality life and be able to spend it with their loved ones.

So, if you are one of those who are complaining, then consider moving to South Carolina. The combined state and federal tobacco taxes in SC are only $1.08.

If you have a family member you are trying to get to quit smoking, then you might want to look at relocating to either Rhode Island or New York. These two states have the highest tobacco taxes. Rhode Island’s combined tobacco taxes are $3.47 and New York’s $3.76.

Today is a victory for living a healthy and long life.

One Smoker’s Advice to Teens: Add up the Costs of Cigarettes

While most adults would counsel the greatest negative involved with smoking cigarettes is increased risk of lung cancer.

This truth is far away in the minds of most young smokers, they tend to not even think about it.

So, if you’re a teen smoker and “not afraid” of lung cancer, just think about the following here-and-now downsides to smoking.

They should be more than enough to convince you to quit.

Nicotine Addiction Facts

Nicotine is considered the most addictive substance known to man, and the longer you smoke, the more powerful your addiction becomes. It is much easier for a smoker of a few years to overcome nicotine addiction than for someone who has smoked for decades. Quit now, while it’s still fairly easy to do. You will never regret the decision.

Your Supporting the Tax Man

Unfair (but life itself is not fair, as you are just now learning), cigarettes are an easy target for tax revenue generation. Because of money grubbing politicians and sheep-like citizens, the price of a pack increases constantly and exponentially – and that trend is guaranteed to continue. If you think it’s financially painful to support your habit today with the cost of a pack at more than $4, just imagine how badly your bank account will suffer when that pack costs $10 or more a decade from now.

Nicotine Normalcy Habit

Think about what nicotine provides you: Your first few smokes gave you a very short, very minor high. While that was certainly interesting, you should realize by now that as your body has become addicted to nicotine, the only “benefit” you’re provided by the drug is a feeling of normalcy. Think hard about this one: You’re paying money for a drug that does nothing, other than allowing you to feel normal – allowing you to obtain the exact same state of normalcy that non-smokers obtain without doing anything, or paying any money. Now is that stupid, or what?

Do the Math

Break out your calculator and punch in the following numbers for a smoker who starts in 2008 and continues for four decades: 40 years x 365 days x average of 1.5 packs per day x average of $8 per pack (I’m being conservative on the average price; in reality, it will probably be even greater) = $175,200.

That’s no typo: $175,200. Think about what you could do with $175,000! You like boats? How about a 40-foot live-aboard ocean sailboat? Cars? You could buy four brand-new Corvettes. Or a very high-performance airplane, or 50 percent of a beautiful home, or a business, or medical/law school, or…

Teen Cost of SmokingOr…you could just buy cigarettes. And feel normal. Just like a non-smoker feels. All for the low, low price of just $175,200.

Quit while it’s still easy, and take all the pennies you used to spend on smokes and throw ’em in a big jar. It would only take a few years before you could buy the first of your four Corvettes.

Source:  The Reporter in Letters to the Editor, Paul Domeier, Coarsegold

New Report on Global Tobacco Control Efforts

NEW YORK — WHO today released new data concerning tobacco control.

The data show that while progress has been made, not a single country fully implements all key tobacco control measures, and outlined an approach that governments can adopt to prevent tens of millions of premature deaths by the middle of this century.

In a new report which presents the first comprehensive analysis of global tobacco use and control efforts, WHO finds that only 5% of the world’s population live in countries that fully protect their population with any one of the key measures that reduce smoking rates.

The report also reveals that governments around the world collect 500 times more money in tobacco taxes each year than they spend on anti-tobacco efforts.

It finds that tobacco taxes, the single most effective strategy, could be significantly increased in nearly all countries, providing a source of sustainable funding to implement and enforce the recommended approach, a package of six policies called MPOWER (see below).

“While efforts to combat tobacco are gaining momentum, virtually every country needs to do more.

These six strategies are within the reach of every country, rich or poor and, when combined as a package, they offer us the best chance of reversing this growing epidemic,” said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. Dr Chan launched the WHO Report of the Global Tobacco Epidemic at a news conference with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg Philanthropies helped fund the report.

“The report released today is revolutionary,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “For the first time, we have both a rigorous approach to stop the tobacco epidemic and solid data to hold us all accountable. No country fully implements all of the MPOWER policies and 80% of countries don’t fully implement even one policy. While tobacco control measures are sometimes controversial, they save lives and governments need to step up and do the right thing.”The six MPOWER strategies are:

  1. Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies
  2. Protect people from tobacco smoke
  3. Offer help to quit tobacco use
  4. Warn about the dangers of tobacco
  5. Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship
  6. Raise taxes on tobacco

The report also documents the epidemic’s shift to the developing world, where 80% of the more than eight million annual tobacco-related deaths projected by 2030 are expected to occur.

This shift, the report says, results from a global tobacco industry strategy to target young people and adults in the developing world, ensuring that millions of people become fatally addicted every year. The targeting of young women in particular is highlighted as one of the “most ominous potential developments of the epidemic’s growth”.

The global analysis, compiled by WHO with information provided by 179 Member States, gives governments and other groups a baseline from which to monitor efforts to stop the epidemic in the years ahead. The MPOWER package provides countries with a roadmap to help them meet their commitments to the widely embraced global tobacco treaty known as the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which came into force in 2005.

WHO WHO is also working with global partners to scale up the help that can be offered to countries to implement the strategies.

Dr Douglas Bettcher, Director of WHO’s Tobacco Free Initiative, said the six MPOWER strategies would create a powerful response to the tobacco epidemic. “This package will create an enabling environment to help current tobacco users quit, protect people from second-hand smoke and prevent young people from taking up the habit,” he said.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • Only 5% of the global population is protected by comprehensive national smoke-free legislation and 40% of countries still allow smoking in hospitals and schools;
  • Only 5% of the world’s population lives in countries with comprehensive national bans on tobacco advertising and promotion;
  • Just 15 countries, representing 6% of the global population, mandate pictorial warnings on tobacco packaging;
  • Services to treat tobacco dependence are fully available in only nine countries, covering 5% of the world’s people;
  • Tobacco tax revenues are more than 4000 times greater than spending on tobacco control in middle-income countries and more than 9000 times greater in lower-income countries. High- income countries collect about 340 times more money in tobacco taxes than they spend on tobacco control.

Source: Press Release

R. J. Reynolds Backs Campaign Against Tobacco Tax Hike

Cigarette tax proposal would change tax from 7 cents per pack to 30-50 cents if the plan passes.

However,  the country’s second-largest cigarette company is an anonymous backer of a campaign opposing a bill to raise South Carolina’s lowest-in-the-nation cigarette tax.

The message began showing up in mailboxes last week — 10,000 postcards sent to Republican activists by the S.C. Association of Taxpayers.

The postcards express concern about a proposed plan to raise the state’s cigarette tax, now 7 cents per pack, to between 30 and 50 cents per pack.

Some legislators have suggested the new tax revenue could go toward providing employers tax credits to buy employee health insurance.

Featuring a graph showing a “$190 million unfunded taxpayer mandate,” the postcards ask voters to “stop this HillaryCare styled welfare plan.”

Several state Senate staffers said the chart on the postcards is the same chart that R.J. Reynolds lobbyists showed some state senators in recent weeks. The postcard also warns that the “hospital industry and insurance company special interests want Legislators to raise your taxes!”

“We just have issues with what they’re talking about,” said Don Weaver, president of the S.C. Association of Taxpayers. “A lot of people don’t realize what this program will do.”

The association is a private group that often takes corporate donations, Weaver said. The group is best known for giving out its annual “Friend of the Taxpayer” award.

Supporters of the insurance plan, known as the “Covering Carolina Collaborative,” say the postcards distort the plan to expand health insurance options in the state and its cost.

“We got some donations,” Weaver said, when asked if R.J. Reynolds paid for the postcards. “We get a lot of corporate donations, let’s put it that way.”

R.J. Reynolds declined to comment for this article.

Tax MapIn past years, R.J. Reynolds was at the forefront of the cigarette-tax debate, hosting events and urging those opposed to increasing the tax to call lawmakers. R.J. Reynolds’ views are different from that of the top-selling cigarette maker, Philip Morris USA, which supports a small tax increase.

Supporters of raising the tax to provide health insurance, including the S.C. Hospital Association, said the postcards misrepresent the proposal.

Patti Smoak, spokeswoman for the S.C. Hospital Association, said the options offered in the Covering Carolina Collaborative would depend on the state’s ability to pay for them.

Although the hospital group is not advocating a cigarette tax hike, it is logical that smokers help pay health care costs caused by smoking, Smoak said.

It is unclear when the Senate will vote on the tax, which has not been increased since 1977.

Source: John O’Connor The (Columbia) State

Mississippi is 27th for Anti-Tobacco Money

Once among the nation’s leaders for anti-smoking campaigns for youth and teens, Mississippi now ranks 27th among states that spend money on tobacco prevention, a new report says.

The report released Wednesday also found that tobacco companies spend $183 million a year on marketing in Mississippi, almost 23 times the state funding for tobacco prevention.

State Health Officer Dr. Ed Thompson said there’s been some decline in youth tobacco use rates in the state, but there’s a “great deal of competition from the tobacco industry so that’s an uphill battle.”

Overall, states this year have increased total funding for tobacco prevention programs by 20 percent to $717 million, the report said.

Maine, Delaware and Colorado were the only three states that funded tobacco prevention programs at minimum levels recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the report said.

Issued by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society, the report called for the implementation of tobacco control measures. Those included prevention programs, higher tobacco taxes and smoke-free workplace laws.

Mississippi ranked last in the nation in 2006, but moved up after Gov. Haley Barbour approved $8 million for a state-funded tobacco prevention program within the Department of Health during this year’s legislative session.

The bottom ranking resulted from the court-ordered termination of $20 million in annual funding for the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi, a private, nonprofit headed by former Mississippi attorney general Mike Moore.

The Partnership’s money had come from the state’s settlement with the tobacco industry in the 1990s. Barbour successfully sued to cut off the Partnership’s money, saying only the Legislature has the authority to decide how that money should be spent.

William V. Corr, executive director of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement that Mississippi “has a long way to go in re-establishing an effective program.”

MississippiIt’s been 10 years since a landmark multistate settlement with the tobacco industry. Moore filed the first such lawsuit against the cigarette makers, forcing them to cover medical costs of people who became sick from their products. The nationwide settlement came soon after, but states weren’t required to create tobacco prevention programs.

With Moore at its helm, the Partnership set a standard for anti-tobacco programming, using catchy advertisements, churches, community coalitions, and school nurses to warn teens about the dangers of smoking. Mississippi’s teen smoking rate was 22.4 percent in 2004, and fell to 18.7 percent by 2006.

Thompson said the new state-funded program is still being developed and Moore is chairman of its advisory council.

“Certainly use of media is going to be one of the elements that they’ll consider and place into the mix,” said Thompson.

As far as increasing funding for tobacco prevention, lawmakers are reluctant to make any promises. Mississippi’s economic forecast shows slow growth, and lawmakers have predicted budget cuts for next year.

“Increasing funding for tobacco prevention is a very worthwhile project and it merits consideration,” said Senate Public Health Committee Chairman Alan Nunnelee. “But it’s far too early to make any commitments about what will or won’t be funded.”

Source: AP

Tobacco Industry Puts Profits Before Kids in Defeating Oregon Ballot Initiative

Statement of William V. Corr, Executive Director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Tobacco or Kids? Who has values?

Washington, Nov. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — By telling $12 million worth of lies, the Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds tobacco companies have again protected their profits at the expense of children.

By defeating a ballot initiative to increase Oregon’s cigarette tax and fund health care for children it is pretty evident where big tobacco stands.

The tobacco companies will profit by selling more cigarettes, while Oregonians will pay a terrible price with more kids addicted to tobacco, more lives lost and more kids without health care.

Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds opposed this initiative because they know that increasing the cigarette tax is one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking, especially among children, and they also know that the public strongly supports increasing the cigarette tax.

These tobacco companies knew they couldn’t win by arguing against the cigarette tax increase, so they spent a record $12 million to change the subject and deceive the voters of Oregon. In fact, the tobacco companies made this election about anything but the cigarette tax increase, which is the one issue they truly cared about.

Throughout the campaign, media reports regularly exposed the industry’s deceptive tactics, including the creation of an industry-funded front group — Oregonians Against the Blank Check; RJR’s distribution of a mass-mailed letter that appeared to come from a first-grade teacher, but was mailed from the office of the company’s lobbyist; and false claims in TV ads.

The tobacco companies’ ads falsely claimed that the money raised would not be spent on children’s health care and manufactured controversy about amending the Oregon Constitution despite the fact it has similarly been amended many times (and the tobacco companies themselves have proposed constitutional amendments in other states).

The $12 million spent by Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds more than doubled the previous record for an Oregon ballot initiative and was nearly four times what proponents of the initiative spent. Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds should be held accountable for the high cost in health, lives and money that the people of Oregon will pay.

Because this measure was defeated, 29,000 more kids will become smokers, 13,000 lives will be lost to tobacco-caused disease, and Oregon will pay $662 million more in long-term health care costs. In addition, more than 100,000 deserving Oregon children will go without the health coverage Measure 50 would have provided.

Image of KidsThe Oregon outcome does not change the fact that the public strongly supports increasing tobacco taxes. National and state polls across the country show overwhelming support for tobacco tax increases — support that extends across party lines, from smokers and non-smokers alike, throughout
all regions.

Since Jan. 1, 2002, 44 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia have increased their cigarette tax rates more than 75 times — more than doubling the national average cigarette tax from 43.4 cents to $1.09 a pack. Increasing federal and cigarette taxes remains one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking, especially among kids, and the public will continue to support it.

Source: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids