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Tobacco excise tax increase expected to boost attempts to quit smoking


Fri, Aug 4th 2023 01:45 pm

Increasing cost a major factor for encouraging quit attempts; NY Quitline previously experienced uptick in calls during last tax increase in 2010

Submitted by the New York State Smokers' Quitline

New York state residents seeking motivation to quit smoking will soon encounter a convincing reason. Beginning Sept. 1, the excise tax on cigarettes and little cigars will increase $1 to a total of $5.35 a pack, marking the first such increase since July 1, 2010. The New York State Smokers' Quitline (NY Quitline), a free and confidential service from the New York State Department of Health based at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, anticipates an uptick in program participants due to the latest tax increase.

"The upcoming tax increase will help save lives," said Paula Celestino, director of client relations and outreach for the NY Quitline, and one of the program's founding team members. "We want to remind all New York state residents the Quitline is here to provide free support, seven days a week. We know quitting smoking is hard, but thousands of people have been successful. The key is to keep trying."

Cost plays a major factor in encouraging people who smoke to make a quit attempt. Most people who smoke want to quit, and an increase in the cost of cigarettes can motivate people to become and stay tobacco-free. When the tobacco excise tax increased from $2.75 a pack to $4.35 a pack on July 1, 2010, the NY Quitline experienced an increase in calls for three consecutive months. Currently, according to the NY Quitline's online savings calculator, a New York state resident will spend a minimum of $4,000 a year to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day.

"We know that raising the price of cigarettes deters youth smoking and motivates more adults to quit," Celestino added. "Research shows state tax increases have a dramatic effect in spurring quit attempts."

For the 2023 tax increase, the NY Quitline again expects more people requesting help to quit. Unlike 2010 during the prior tax increase, however, Quitline participants now have even more support services from which to choose. Trained tobacco treatment specialists continue to provide quit coaching and access to free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) medications via phone at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487). At nysmokefree.com, participants can connect with a specialist through an online chat, request a call-back, order free NRT medications, and register for the six-week Learn2QuitNY text messaging program.

No matter the methods one uses to quit smoking, cost-savings often plays a major role in the process. Past Quitline participants frequently note cost as a reason to quit (see: Jackie O.'s story) and savings as a reason to maintain tobacco-free living (see: Betty E.'s story and Debby L.'s story).

The term tobacco throughout this press release refers to the use of manufactured, combustible commercial products and vape products – not the sacred, medicinal and traditional use of tobacco by Native American nations and other indigenous groups.

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