The use of tobacco products remains the No. 1 cause of preventable death in Mississippi, one of the many reasons a broadly supported policy to increase the state’s cigarette tax is gaining support. Momentum for the policy since last session continues with help from the Invest in a Healthier Future coalition, in which the American Heart Association is a proud member.
This broad-based coalition of organizations is working within communities and with Mississippi lawmakers to save lives, improve the health of citizens and support the economy through an increase in the state cigarette tax by $1.50 per pack (up from 68 cents, one of the lowest in the nation). The proposed increase has the potential to prevent 13,200 premature smoking-related deaths, prevent 21,700 children from becoming adult smokers, and to help 25,100 current adult smokers quit. The tax also has the potential for big revenue, as well as reducing the cost of healthcare and increasing worker productivity across the state.