Cigarette Tax Increase, More Smokers to Quit

The 62-cent-per-pack federal tax increase on cigarettes -- earmarked to fund the expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program -- has resulted in a surge in smokers looking for help to quit, the Washington Post reported April 3.

In recent weeks, tobacco "quit lines" nationwide have registered an increase in calls. A national telephone number, 1-800-QUITNOW, registered 203,374 calls in March, more than twice February's 91,316; in January, it received 76,685 calls. In Washington, D.C., the quit line got a record 131 calls the day before the tax went into effect; the same day a week earlier, it had 44 calls; a month earlier, 19.

"I'm in shock, quite frankly," said Debra Annand, director of health education services for the American Lung Association's District of Columbia office. "Obviously something happened to drive that call volume up."

At the association's office the shock over the price increase is evident, said counselor Robert Wright. The number of people seeking help in the past was three or four people each month -- now, that many inquire each day. "I just got a young guy who said he was told a pack cost $8, and he said, 'No way!'" Wright said.

Rhode Island now has nation's highest cigarette tax.
The nation's smallest state now has the highest tax on cigarettes in the U.S., levying $3.46 cents in taxes on every pack sold, the Providence Journal reported April 9.

A $1-per-pack increase in the state cigarette tax went into effect last week, on top of a hike in the federal tobacco tax from 39 cents per pack to $1.01 per pack that was implemented on April 1. Combined, the taxes are expected to drive the price of a premium-brand pack of cigarettes up from about $6.50 to about $8.35.

The state's Republican governor, Don Carcieri, proposed the tax increase as part of his plan to close a $357-million budget deficit, and the Democrat-controlled legislature approved the increase. The state also raised the tax on smokeless tobacco, snuff and pipe tobacco from 40 percent of the wholesale price to 80 percent.

Despite the tax increase, Rhode Island doesn't necessarily have the country's highest cigarette prices, since some other states impose a minimum price markup in addition to taxes.

Our Government driving these prices up on cigarettes, hitting people in the pockets, and yet lots of jobs are gone now, what is our great all mighty government going to say when many people are cut out of jobs when cigarette companys sales come to a big slow down. This is just one more way the government can push us around and shows how much they care about people making a living.


  • Mee mOe said....

    I make my own cigs now, even know its still costly. I don't smoke as much and I'm planning on quiting...they sure make it difficult to be an addict...lol

  • Angelika said....

    I switched from cigarettes to little cigars. They're the same size as cigarettes and MUCH cheaper.

    I'll stop when there really is no way for me to afford anything at all.

  • LadyBanana said....

    I hate the way the governments make so much tax from cigarettes then spend a fortune on smoking cessation facilities (like me, I am a smoking advisor)

    To me cigarettes should just be banned once and for all, it's a foul habit which does no one any good!

  • Sweet Tea said....

    I quit smoking when the tax went into effect also. My main reason is because I see no reason why I should pay for some children's health insurance when I have none of my own. Why not go ahead & tax liquor & get rid of so many DUI's? People need to realize it may be smokes the govt. taxes today but what about tomorrow? Soda? Ice cream? Candy? Heck, tax people who have more kids than they can afford!

  • The Natural State Hawg said....

    I doubt the government thinks too far ahead when it comes to taxing the hell out of everything. Its merely looking for ways to raise cash now and little thought is given to what happens down the road. What happens when all the programs dependent on revenue from tobacco taxes dry up for lack of funds when people quit smoking? What about the job losses that come as a result of less revenue for those mean old tobacco taxes?

    The new cigarette taxes in Arkansas convinced my wife to quit and that's a good thing for us on a personal level.

    The Natural State Hawg

  • MamaFlo said....

    I'm really proud of you for staying quit Chilly, I know it's hard but you're doing it, keep moving forward and know that I'm here if you need a sympathetic ear.

  • LadyBanana said....

    Hi Chilly, I am wondering if you might like to be added to a list I am compiling of bloggers who do not want to display paid Entrecard ads - If so drop by my blog, there is a sticky post!

  • Nicole OrriĆ«ns said....

    I'm a bit confused: isn't the tax increase a good thing if it helps more people to quit smoking, therefore becoming healthier?

    On a different note: would you like to swap buttons? I would love to be added to the buttons at the bottom of your page, since my blog would fit right in!

    I'm at http://www.relimom.blogspot.com

  • Anonymous

    I wish it were easy to quit. I don't smoke, thank goodness but if it were easier, I think more people would quit. I am appalled at how many teens I see smoking. Bonk on their heads!

  • MamaFlo said....

    Chilly, the Nicotine is gone from your body now and you've started to heal from those years of abuse - how's the psychological stuff going? This was the hardest part of quitting for me.
    Keep moving forward my friend it will continue getting easier.

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