Raising cigarette tax would create funds to back quitting programs
Wouldn’t it be great if every smoker had the opportunity to quit smoking? Cessation or “quit” services would be readily available and cost wouldn’t be a barrier. What a phenomenal thought. This could very well become a possibility by raising the tax on cigarettes to $3 per pack and by raising the tax on other tobacco products to parity.
Tobacco-related illnesses such as heart disease, chronic respiratory ailments and stroke cost the Medicaid program $1.1 billion annually. Any attempt to address this issue must include a discussion on reducing tobacco use. Raising taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products, and dedicating that increased revenue to comprehensive tobacco prevention and cessation programs, would reduce smoking rates in Michigan, especially among disproportionally impacted populations such as those with low income or mental health illnesses.
Higher tobacco prices also prevent youth from starting to use tobacco, and prompt current smokers to quit. Gov. Rick Snyder has prioritized decreasing the tobacco use rate in Michigan as part of his 4X4 Health and Wellness Plan. Raising the state tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products would move Michigan in the right direction to achieve this goal.
Policymakers are in a unique position. We know the problems caused by tobacco use and we know that comprehensive prevention and cessation programs play a critical part in the solution. We have a clear revenue source to fund the solution. All we need is the political will to act.
Tobacco Use Prevention Coordinator