Tobacco related illnesses remain the single most preventable cause of death and disease in Vermont, killing more people than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined. Treating these illnesses costs the state $223 million per year.
Luckily, there is one proven method for reducing the number of smokers – raise the price of cigarettes. In January, a coalition of over 30 groups, including VPIRG, will push the legislature to increase the state’s cigarette tax by $1, bringing it to $3.24 per pack.
Studies show that a price increase of this level has the power to:
Save Vermont $82 million in long-term health care costs
Provide $10.2 million in new revenue for health care programs, including those that help Vermonters quit
Prevent 3,600 kids from becoming smokers
Get 2,000 adult smokers to kick the habit