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Florida Gets an F for Low Cigarette Tax

January 13th, 2009 by flanews

Florida received three Fs for its efforts to stop smoking in a report card released today by the American Lung Association. The report claims the states 34 cent cigarette tax doesnt provide enough financial incentive for people to stop smoking. As Whitney Ray tells us, the association is joining the growing ranks who say the state needs to increase the cigarette tax.

Hear it Here: Florida Gets an F for Low Cigarette Tax

One in five Floridians smokes cigarettes and according to the American Lung Association the state doesnt spend enough money to help those people quit.

Florida is fortunate that we have 60 million dollars that is constitutionally mandated to spend on these types of programs; its still not enough, said Brenda Olsen with the American Lung Association.

The Association released a report card giving Florida low marks in its efforts to prevent smoking. The state received an F for its 34 cent cigarette tax.

Efforts to increase the tax by a dollar are gaining support as the budget continues to fall. Even Governor Charlie Crist is changing his tune from a definite No to not as yet.

Tacking on an extra buck to the cigarette tax could generate 750-million dollars a year. Smoker Rita Chadwell hates the idea.

To think that the government is going to step in and say, okay lets pay another extra dollar, we might as well get the revenue where we can. Just because were in a recession doesnt mean you have to stick it to everybody there is, said Rita.

While the tax may not be popular among smokers, studies show that for every 10 percent increase in the price of a pack teen smoking drops seven percent and four percent fewer adults pick up the habit.

The state didnt receive all Fs. The American Lung Association gave the state a B for its bans on smoking near schools, restaurants and other public places.

Posted in Health, State Budget, State News, Taxes | 2 Comments »

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