News Releases

Federal Cigarette Tax Increase Would Save $63 Billion in Health Care Costs

April 26, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 26, 2013 – The president’s proposal to raise the federal cigarette tax by 94 cents would save the country more than $63 billion in long-term health care costs, according to new estimates by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network  (ACS CAN). ACS CAN also estimates that health care cost savings from fewer smoking-related lung cancer cases would total more than $821 million over 10 years.

“This proposal comes at a time when there is much conversation about how to reduce health care costs,” said John R. Seffrin, PhD, CEO of ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society. “For every pack of cigarettes sold in the United States, our country spends an additional $10.47 on health care costs. Increasing the tobacco tax would dramatically reduce these costs and save lives at the same time.”

Increasing the cost of cigarettes is the single most effective way to prevent children from smoking and to help children and adults quit. Scientific research has consistently shown that every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces youth smoking by 6.5 percent and overall cigarette consumption by about 4 percent. According to ACS CAN data, a 94-cent increase would prevent 626,000 children from premature death due to smoking-related illnesses and 1.7 million American children from becoming addicted smokers. The increase would reduce the number of adult smokers by 2.6 million over 10 years.

“Increasing the federal tobacco tax will save lives, save money and prevent numerous tobacco-related diseases,” said Christopher W. Hansen, president of ACS CAN. “Across the country, people with cancer and their families call on Congress to support this lifesaving proposal.”

The proposed increase would bring the total federal cigarette tax to $1.95 per pack. In 2004, public health experts on the federal Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health recommended a tax of $2.39 per pack. The president’s budget proposal would also increase the federal tax on other tobacco products, a move that would produce additional public health benefits and health care cost savings.

Tobacco use is the nation’s most preventable cause of death, yet more than 443,000 Americans will die from smoking-related diseases this year. A federal tobacco tax increase would complement ongoing tobacco tax campaigns at the local and state level, which are critical to comprehensive tobacco control efforts across the country. ACS CAN will continue to urge state lawmakers to increase tobacco taxes to improve the health of residents in their state.

For more information on these estimates, see the full fact sheet:

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit

Lauren Walens or Steven Weiss
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Phone: (202) 661-5763 or (202) 661-5711
Email: or

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