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2014 World No Tobacco Day seeks higher taxes on tobacco products

MAY 19 - Raising taxes on tobacco products is the focus of the 2014 World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) on May 31st. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that increasing taxes is the most cost-effective way to reduce tobacco use.

"The specific goals of World No Tobacco Day 2014 are that governments increase taxes on tobacco to levels that reduce tobacco consumption," explained Susan Pulaski, Community Health Coordinator for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. "Raising the tax on tobacco in Michigan would reduce smoking rates, prevent children from becoming tobacco users, raise revenue for our state, and provide Michigan with significant savings in health care costs."

Michigan is among four states ranking 12th in the U.S. with a cigarette tax of $2.00 per pack. It has been 10 years since Michigan raised its cigarette tax. Research indicates that raising the tax on cigarettes to $3.00 per pack would decrease the prevalence of adult smoking, and could reduce youth smoking by as much as 21%. State revenues could increase by $200 million annually. Increasing the tax on other tobacco products would raise additional revenue.

The international WNTD movement was initiated by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1987. During 2010 alone, the tobacco industry spent nearly $8.5 billion to market its products in the United States, and more than $250 million of that was spent in Michigan.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For more information about the Tobacco Reduction Coalition and Tobacco-Free Parks and Beach policies, contact Susan Pulaski at (231) 347-5813. For free help in quitting tobacco, contact Michigan Tobacco Quitline at (800) 784-8669 or (800) QUIT-NOW. For more information about World No Tobacco Day, visit