Post Content

May 31 is World No Tobacco Day, an annual awareness day created by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1987 to highlight the fact that tobacco use is deadly and that there are effective policies that reduce consumption.

This year for World No Tobacco Day, WHO and its partners are calling on countries to raise taxes on tobacco. This is an action identified in the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report—The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress—to effectively and dramatically address tobacco use. A tax increase of only 10% has been shown to decrease consumption by 4%, and has been shown to decrease youth smoking by 7%.

Last July, Massachusetts increased the state excise tax on cigarettes by $1.00, an action that reduced the number of cigarette packs sold in Massachusetts by 35 million packs, a 16% drop in consumption over the previous year. This increase made an impact, but there is still work to be done.

As higher taxes drive down cigarettes’ popularity, the tobacco industry replaces them with new, less expensive products, including flavored cigars and disposable e-cigarettes. This tobacco industry strategy has been effective; high school students now smoke cigars at the same rate as cigarettes. E-cigarette use among young people has doubled in the last couple of years.

Both of these products use flashy packaging and widespread product placement to target young people. But their cheap prices are what really make them desirable and accessible to youth. When the cigarette tax went into place in June, the cigar tax was also increased, but by only a few pennies per cigar, not nearly enough to make an impact. E-cigarettes have no excise tax at all. As long as tobacco products go untaxed, they will be accessible and attractive to young people.

We have made great progress in Massachusetts in reducing tobacco use, but the battle is not yet over for cigarettes or other tobacco products. But with a focus on proven strategies and a comprehensive approach to the problem, we are on track to win the battle in the end.

 

By Heather Wise, Health Communication Specialist in the Division of Prevention and Wellness at the Department of Public Health

Written By:


Ted works in communications for the Division of Prevention and Wellness at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Recent Posts

It’s Not Too Late to Get a Flu Vaccine! posted on Dec 5

It’s Not Too Late to Get a Flu Vaccine!

As the busy schedule of the holiday season approaches, now is a great time to get a flu vaccine if you have not gotten vaccinated yet. A flu vaccine can protect you and your loved ones. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get   …Continue Reading It’s Not Too Late to Get a Flu Vaccine!

Weekly Flu Report, December 2, 2016 posted on Dec 2

The latest weekly flu report shows that rates of flu-like illness rose slightly in the past seven days in Massachusetts. Still, it’s safe to say that flu season has yet to really kick in – which means there is still time to protect yourself and your family   …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, December 2, 2016

Keeping the Balance During the Holiday Season! posted on Nov 29

Keeping the Balance During the Holiday Season!

By Tracey Munson and Meaghan Sutherland The holiday season is on our doorstep, accompanied by an endless supply of gravy, fudge, gingerbread, and figgy pudding (okay, maybe not that last one).  While enjoying some of these foods is something we look forward to every year,   …Continue Reading Keeping the Balance During the Holiday Season!