The measure, House Bill 2096 introduced by State Rep. Gary Odom, would increase Tennessee's 62 cents per pack cigarette tax by 44 cents, bringing the state tax to $1.06 per pack.
I'm all for finding a source for that TennCare/Medicaid funding, and I love it that the solution may also end up reducing the number of people in our state who smoke, particularly young people.
Tennessee's 62 cent tax is the 13th lowest state cigarette tax in the country. By comparison, New York charges $4.35 in tax per pack; Arkansas charges $1.15 in tax; and Mississippi charges 68 cents per pack in tax on cigarettes bought there.
Either way, I urge you to go smoke free it really is another great way to stay cheap!
I am not usually in favor of tax increases.
Earlier this month, I read a USA Today article about the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Surgeon General report on the dangers of smoking. Even though a lot of progress has been made in educating people to the dangers, there are still nearly 45 million Americans who smoke, according to the American Cancer Society.
It's a health issue for sure, but you also have to look at the financial ramifications: If someone smokes a pack of cigarettes a day at $5.89 a pack, he or she is spending more than $2,100 a year, at the very least. And with Rep. Odom's proposed tax increase, the annual expenditure would jump to more than $2,300.
The article noted that each year 5 million people around the world die of smoking related illnesses, according to an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and every day, more than 3,000 teens pick up their first cigarette, said Robin Koval, president and CEO of Legacy, an anti smoking advocacy group.
I don't know about you, but there is a lot I could do with an extra $2,300 this year. And next year and the one after that.
Odom's motive is clearly to secure this funding for health care in our state, but he also knows that a decrease in smoking would save millions in reduced health care costs in future years.
To me it makes sense to fund health care with a tax that discourages smoking. As Odom said, "the logic is pretty Omega Seamaster Diver 300m Commander's Watch obvious. Medicaid has paid for the care of so many people with smoking related illnesses."
number of smokers, but I do think the higher cost would be a deterrent not only to young people but also to people of all ages who care about their health and can see that having an extra $2,300 a year in their pockets is not just blowing smoke.
I hope Rep. Odom's bill prevails.
The website said "the general consensus is that every 10 percent increase in the real price of cigarettes reduces overall cigarette consumption by approximately three to five percent, reduces the number of young adult smokers by 3.5 percent and reduces the number of kids who smoke by six or seven percent."
As a former serious smoker who kicked the habit when I was pregnant with our first child, I know how hard it is to quit. But I also know it is worth it to your health and to your wallet.
But after reading that the state legislature is considering raising taxes on cigarettes, I have to say I am all for it.
Cigarette tax hike could be big saver
The Odom measure would raise the tax ASAP, with a provision for the proceeds to go into a reserve fund that the state could access in 2017 for the expansion of TennCare, the state's Medicaid program.
Odom believes the tax increase would raise about $175 million a year, which he says would be more than enough to offset the state's upcoming share of the TennCare expansion.
If you want to quit, there are some affordable resources out there:The American Lung Association has "Freedom From Smoking" programs at about 15 Middle Tennessee hospitals and other locations. The seven week programs can be free or may have a fee, depending on where you take it. Details: 1 800 784 8669.
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