Why does the American Lung Association support raising the federal tobacco tax?
Because it will reduce youth tobacco use, encourage people to make a quit attempt and save lives.
Increasing the tax on tobacco products is a proven way to address especially youth tobacco use. Multiple studies have shown that every 10% increase in the price of cigarettes reduces consumption by about 4% among adults and 7% among youth. Increasing the price of tobacco products is a key strategy in our efforts to reduce tobacco use. In the more than a decade since the last federal tobacco tax increase, the tobacco products on the market have changed dramatically and the federal tax code has not been able to keep up with the increasing and evolving number of products entering the market.
This federal tax proposal would for the first time ever, include e-cigarettes, the most popular tobacco product among youth. In 2020, 3.6 million middle and high school students were using e-cigarettes, including 19.6 percent of high school students. Both the U.S. Surgeon General and the Food and Drug Administration have called the youth use of e-cigarettes an “epidemic” and called for “aggressive steps” to protect youth from these products.
Increasing tobacco taxes will help reduce health disparities. Americans with lower levels of education and income disproportionally experience the substantial health and financial burdens of smoking, including suffering higher rates of lung cancer risk and other tobacco related disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans with lower social economic status are just as likely to make quit attempts but are less successful in quitting.
The current proposal would double the cigarette, little cigar and roll-your-own tax from $1.01 to $2.02, add a first-time tax on e-cigarette liquid inclusive of both synthetic and derived nicotine and increase the taxes on large cigars, pipe tobacco, and other products. The Lung Association along with partners strongly supports this proposal as an effective and proven way to decrease tobacco use in the United States.
By adopting language passed by the House of Representatives doubling the federal cigarette tax, we would reduce the number of adult smokers by 1.1 million in the first year of the increase, and overtime would avoid 250,000 smoking-related premature deaths and prevent 507,000 kids from becoming smokers. The Lung Association believes now more than ever is the time to support the health of our communities by preventing tobacco use and helping smokers quit, not switch.
Tell your members of Congress to support the strong tobacco tax provisions outlined in the Build Back Better Act.