Higher tobacco taxes drive down smoking rates

As state taxes on tobacco rise, smokers increasingly are kicking the habit, according to a USA Today analysis. In Connecticut, per-capita cigarette consumption is down 37% since the tax jumped to $1.51 a pack from 50 cents in 2002. New Jersey also tripled its state cigarette tax that year, and smoking has dropped by 35%, the paper says. In tobacco-growing South Carolina, the tax has remained at 7 cents per pack for 30 years, and cigarette smoking has dropped by just 5% since 2000.

If a proposed federal tobacco tax hike goes through, smoking rates could fall considerably more nationwide. "I expect a bigger drop than almost anything we've seen before," University of Illinois economist Frank Chaloupka is quoted as saying. The Senate approved a 61-cent-per-pack hike last week as part of a proposed SCHIP expansion, but President Bush has threatened to veto the bill.

For more information:
- See the USA Today story. Article

Suggested Articles

The profit margins and management of Community Health Group raise questions about oversight of managed care insurers.

Financial experts are warning practices about the pitfalls of promoting medical credit cards to their patients.

A proposed rule issued by HHS on Tuesday would expand short-term coverage, a move Seema Verma said will have "virtually no impact" on ACA premiums.