State urged to raise cigarette tax

The excise tax on Cigarettes in New York is at $1.50, which ranks 16th in the nation. Nine states have a cigarette tax rate of $2 per pack or More. ...

New York state received good marks in a new tobacco-control report card issued by the American Lung Association but earned only a C for its excise-tax efforts. The state maintained its second-place score in the nation, receiving an A for each of three categories: tobacco-prevention and -control spending, smoke-free air, and youth access to tobacco products. But New York’s overall grade suffeRed from the average score obtained by the failure to increase the state’s excise tax on tobacco. “Overall, we’re pleased with the report,” said Karen Derusha, tobacco-control specialist for the Adirondack Tobacco Free Network. “We got A’s in the things that we have worked really hard for. It’s a nice reflection on our comprehensive plan.” PUSH FOR HIGHER TAX The Adirondack Tobacco Free Network is one of many organizations throughout the state that have been focusing on such issues as smoke-free environments and Reducing the number of young people who smoke. But efforts need to continue, they say, particularly in the area of the excise tax. “It’s been clearly shown that an increase in the excise tax Reduces the amount of adult smoking and decreases the initiation of youth smoking,” Derusha said. “An increase in the excise tax nationwide would translate into preventing 142,000 children alive today from becoming smokers.” The excise tax on Cigarettes in New York is at $1.50, which ranks 16th in the nation. Nine states have a cigarette tax rate of $2 per pack or More. Since New York last raised its excise tax in 2002, 43 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have all increased their tax rates. “A lot of it involves education,” Derusha said of the need to improve state lawmakers’ knowledge of smoking prevention and the excise tax. “Between the cost of health care and the financial burden that we, as taxpayers, all have a part in because of smoking, it is important to all of us.” The total medical costs to treat smoking-related diseases in New York exceeds $8 million annually, including More than $5 million in taxpayer-supported Medicaid, she pointed out

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