Cigarette taxes hurting but not working

| October 2, 2012

Higher cigarette taxes may be hurtingNew York’s low-income smokers financially rather than making them more likely to quit, according to an ABC report quoting the results of a new survey by researchers at RTI International.

The survey, which looked at more than 13,000 people living in New York state, found that some lower-income smokers spent nearly a quarter of their household incomes on cigarettes compared with the average two per cent spent by wealthier smokers.

The national average spent by lower-income smokers – those with a household income under $25,000 a year – was 14 per cent.

New Yorkcarries a considerably higher excise tax than do other states – $4.35 a pack compared with the national average of $1.46 a pack.

But even with the higher taxes, the state has not seen a decline in the number of lower-income smokers over the last decade, according to RTI, a non-profit research group that received funding from the New York State Department of Health for the survey.

“Excise taxes are effective in changing smokers’ behavior,” Matthew Farrelly, chief scientist and senior director of RTI’s public health policy research program, and study author, said in a statement. “But not all smokers are able to quit, and low-income smokers are disproportionately burdened by these taxes.”

Category: Breaking News

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