American Lung Association Urges Senate To Support Federal Cigarette Tax Increase To Fund SCHIP And Curb Youth Smoking

January 27, 2009 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

Earlier this month, the American Lung Association’s annual State of Tobacco Control report awarded the federal government an F for its low federal cigarette tax. Despite this dismal grade, the Lung Association noted that the new leadership in Washington presented great hope to the public health community. This week, the U.S. Senate will have its first opportunity to move our nation towards a healthier future by voting to increase the federal cigarette tax as a means to fund the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

In a strong bi-partisan vote, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly supported the proposed 61-cent federal cigarette tax increase, which will be used to provide much-needed medical care for our nation’s low-income, uninsured children. It’s now up to the Senate to pass this important legislation that will safeguard some of our nation’s most vulnerable children.

“During these economically challenged times, the health of our children is not something we can afford to ignore,” said Charles D. Connor, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “We urge the Senate to act quickly and decisively on this important measure that will ensure an additional 4 million kids will finally have health insurance.”

“Furthermore, as an organization dedicated to improving lung health, we know that children with asthma who were enrolled in SCHIP had fewer asthma attacks and needed fewer medical visits,” added Connor. “Reducing the burden of lung disease saves lives and money.”

This substantial increase on the federal cigarette tax will also go a long way in reducing youth smoking rates. Research indicates that a ten percent increase in the price of a pack of cigarettes reduces youth smoking by seven percent.

Today, nearly 20% of American high school students smoke. Sadly, half of these teens will eventually die prematurely from smoking caused disease.

“Every possible measure must be taken to keep our nation’s kids off tobacco,” said Connor. “Senate support of this week’s SCHIP legislation is yet another way to loosen the grip Big Tobacco has on our nation’s youth.”

About the American Lung Association

Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a Charity Navigator Four Star Charity and holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit

American Lung Association



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