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Hospitals Back Cigarette Tax

March 10th, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

Efforts to boost the cigarette tax by up to a dollar got major support today from the Florida Hospital Association. FHA told reporters it could no longer sit on the sidelines when the real issue is public health. Association president Bruce Rueben says many people, including non smokers, dont know how much the habit is costing them.

There are no butts about it. Annually, Florida businesses and families absorb more than six point two billion dollars in tobacco related costs, and that amounts to five hundred and eighty six dollars per household

Estimates are that for every ten percent increase in price, smoking declines by four percent for adults and seven percent for teens. Hospital President Lars Houmann says Florida sells more cigarettes than any other state.

In the US, tobacco use is responsible for almost one in five deaths. It kills more people than alcohol, crack cocaine, heroin, homicide, suicide, car crashes, fires and aids combined, says Houmann. We know raising the price of cigarettes will prevent many of those deaths.

The current cigarette tax is 33 point 9 cents. Only five staets have lower cigarette taxes than Florida, which was last raised in 1990.

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