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Win-Win On Cigarettes

Tax Hike: By raising taxes $1, the state brought in more money while discouraging tobacco sales

Hartford Courant Editorial

September 17, 2010

Connecticut's decision to boost the tax rate on cigarettes turns out to be a win-win for state revenues and residents' health.

Last October, the tax rate jumped from $2 to $3 per pack. In the budget year that ended June 30, the state collected about $380 million in cigarette taxes, which was $5 million more than had been projected.

At the same time, cigarette sales dropped. If that favorable trend continues, residents will be healthier and the huge medical costs associated with smoking illnesses — heart disease, lung cancer and emphysema — will begin to drop.

In recent decades, the percentage of adults who smoke has declined steadily as the link between smoking and disease has been established beyond doubt. About 17 percent of state residents still smoke.

It's more troubling, though, that about a quarter of high school students smoke. The sad reality is that many will end up as lifelong nicotine addicts because the habit is extremely hard to break.

Connecticut has the fourth highest cigarette tax in the nation, which brings in desperately needed revenue while also helping to discourage the deadly habit. Lawmakers made the right decision when they voted to raise the tax.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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