Monday July 01, 2013
Shortly, Massachusetts will be home to the second highest cigarette tax in the country. This honor comes after the state legislature passed a $1 increase to the state’s cigarette tax last week as part of a larger transportation bill. The increase will bring Massachusetts’ tax to $3.51 a pack.
Research has shown that significant and consistent increases in tobacco taxes are the most effective way to reduce smoking rates and help prevent kids from starting the deadly habit. Just how effective will the Massachusetts tax increase be? ACS CAN estimates that the $1 increase will save an estimated 15,500 lives in Massachusetts and keep approximately 27,200 kids from becoming addicted adult smokers. We also expect that nearly 25,000 adult smokers will quit.
The Massachusetts legislature also increased the excise tax on other tobacco products, such as cigars and smokeless alternatives, to the highest in the country. This is incredibly important because as cigarette taxes have increased across the country, tobacco companies are using deceptive marketing to lure youth to lower-priced alternatives such as cigars, snus and newer products such as dissolvable orbs. Ensuring that other tobacco products are taxed at a rate at least as high as cigarettes helps curb youth usage.
Thirty-five people a day die from cancer in Massachusetts, and nearly 30 percent of those deaths are directly attributable to tobacco use. This historic tobacco tax increase will have a tremendous public health benefit for the people of Massachusetts, and it sets an example for all states to consider a tobacco tax increase as a reliable means to save lives, reduce health care costs and invest in critical health programs. Congratulations to ACS CAN staff and volunteers in Massachusetts for their hard work in securing this huge legislative victory!