Raising the state's tobacco tax by $1.50 can save lives and support prevention efforts!
As our state legislature continues to wrestle with how to close a +$3.5B budget deficit, and to ultimately provide the state with a balanced two-year operating budget, the issue of raising existing taxes is being discussed in earnest. One such tax, the tobacco tax, if implemented correctly, could have a huge positive health outcome for the residents of CT. While our state has made a lot of progress in reducing tobacco use, 4,900 adults still die each year from smoking. One of the most direct and reliable ways to reduce tobacco use is to increase the tobacco tax.
Currently, the legislature is considering a modest 45-cent tax increase on a pack of cigarettes. While we applaud this effort, we know that for tobacco taxes to be most effective at reducing use, they must occur in sizable amounts to offset discounting the tobacco companies will offer in reaction to the tax increase. That is why the American Heart Association is strongly urging CT lawmakers to increase the tax by $1.50. Anything less, and the cost is too easily absorbed and will barely be noticed by consumers. If successful, we would like to see the revenue from this tax increase go towards better funding of tobacco prevention and cessation programs for our state’s residents, helping to save lives!