Tobacco tax increase expected to reduce smoking

smoke ashtray apx For the estimated 20% of Americans who smoke cigarettes, the impact of a federal excise tax increase that takes effect Wednesday is already being felt.

Earlier this month the manufacturer of Marlboro, Parliament and Virginia Slims, Philip Morris USA, increased prices by 71 cents a pack, 9 cents more than the federal tax increase. The maker of Camel, Kool and Salem cigarettes, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, bumped wholesale prices up by 44 cents a pack and reduced discounting.

The revenue from the tax increase, which will be used to expand coverage under the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to an additional 4 million low-income children, was signed into law in February.

It calls for a 62-cents-a-pack increase, to $1.01, in federal excise taxes on cigarettes for the nation’s estimated 45 million cigarette smokers as well as increases in taxes on little cigars, cigars, and pipe and chewing tobacco.

The higher prices should have the positive effect of reducing teenage smoking, according to Dr. Jonathan Klein, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester.

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