Hiking Tobacco Taxes Creates Incentive To Quit Smoking

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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Today a new federal law goes into effect that will increase the tax on cigarettes by 62 cents, and steeply raises prices for other tobacco products. The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) sees the increase as more evidence that now is always the best time to quit tobacco.

“In tough economic times, cigarettes should be at the top of a list of ways to cut back,” said David Neville, UDOH marketing coordinator for The TRUTH. “The increasing cost of smoking makes it a great time to quit.”

History shows that when the cost of smoking goes up, more smokers choose to quit. Price increases encourage adults to quit tobacco. Price increases hit youth even harder and are one of the most effective ways to discourage smoking initiation.

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“Smoking is an expensive addiction,” says Neville, “Smoking for one year costs about $1,650 and after 10 years you’ll have spent over $16,000.”

Quitting smoking has many benefits in addition to cost savings. Within 48 hours of quitting smoking, sense of smell and taste begin to improve. Within 72 hours, lung capacity increases. Within three months, frequency of illness decreases. After one year, heart attack risk is cut in half.

To help make quitting easier, the UDOH recommends quitters take advantage of free and effective services, such as the Utah Tobacco Quitline 888.567.8788 or www.UtahQuitNet.com. Additionally, successful quitters have found these tips to be useful:

• Avoid people and places where smoking is a temptation.
• Change habits, for instance, avoiding coffee and alcohol, can help.
• Chew sugarless gum, toothpicks or sunflower seeds to curb cravings.
• Take up a hobby that keeps your hands busy.
• Exercise

Nationally, every day more than 1,500 people under the age of 18 become regular smokers. About one-third of them will eventually die from a tobacco-related disease. More than 230,000 Utahns continue to use tobacco and more than 1,100 die annually as a result of their own smoking.

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