Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Federal Cigarette Tax Increase and Current Economy Will Change Smoker's Habits

RJ Note: I don't smoke and am certainly not interested in it. Besides the obvious health risks, the overall stench on the clothes would be enough to deter me. If I did smoke, I would be in fumes over this tax. Seems like it's a way to be sure that a select group of people will be paying for this new improved government program. If the program and higher tax does provide smokers the incentive to smoke, what will the government have to tax next to pay for this program? Just wondering.

/PRNewswire/ -- On April 1, the federal cigarette tax will increase by 62 cents to a total of $1.01 per pack, to fund the expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program that was signed into law earlier this year.(1) A new survey shows that the April 1st federal price increase on cigarettes and the current economy are big concerns for smokers and will change their current smoking habits.(2)

The survey, commissioned by the marketers of Nicorette, showed 70 percent of smokers say that the current price of cigarettes is already very expensive and is one of their main concerns about smoking, second only to health concerns.(2) For survey respondents over 45 years old, the price of cigarettes was the most cited concern.(2) Further, 56 percent of smokers say the April 1st price increase will prompt them to smoke fewer cigarettes and 72 percent say the price increase on cigarettes would increase their intention to quit.(2)

Smokers also say the current economy is a big concern and it will prompt them to change their smoking habits.(2) Forty-seven percent of smokers say they would cut back on cigarettes because of the economy.(2)

"Research shows that smokers are more likely to try to quit when the price of cigarettes goes up," said Dr. Frank Chaloupka, professor of economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago and affiliate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. "Given the recent tax hike and the state of the economy, now would be a great time for smokers to re-evaluate how smoking affects their finances and calculate how much they could save by quitting. A typical pack-a-day smoker could be spending approximately $2,000 each year on cigarettes, but no matter how expensive it is to smoke, quitting smoking is a big challenge."

Almost half of smokers currently quitting, or more likely to quit smoking, noted in the survey that they do not plan to get help.(2) In fact, almost half (48 percent) said they would prefer to quit cold turkey or gradually cut down smoking without assistance.(2) Unfortunately, research shows only 3-5 percent of smokers who quit without the help of cessation tools are successful long-term.(3) The same research shows smokers are twice as likely to be successful if they use therapeutic nicotine rather than quitting unassisted.(3)

"Tools for cessation, such as therapeutic nicotine, social support and counseling have been proven to significantly increase a smoker's chances of quitting successfully," said Saul Shiffman, Ph.D., professor in the departments of psychology and pharmaceutical science at the University of Pittsburgh. "Therapeutic nicotine products, like Nicorette White Ice Mint gum, are a safe and effective approach to quitting, and can help a smoker manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms during the quitting process."

Smokers interested in quitting due to the federal tax increase can access free tools and resources at www.nicorette.com. Nicorette is giving away a free starter pack of Nicorette White Ice Mint gum while supplies last.

About the Survey
A national survey of 1,046 U.S. adult smokers was conducted in March

2009 by Richard Day Research through Global Market Insite, Inc. (2) The survey was balanced according to age, gender and regional dispersion of smokers found in the 2007 National Health interview Survey (NHIS) and the 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, as reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.(2) The survey was conducted on behalf of Nicorette.

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