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A study published in the Tobacco Control journal has predicted that the U.S will miss its target for 5% smoking prevalence in 2030 if taxes on cigarettes are not hiked.

Researchers added that the District of Columbia and five states would meet the Healthy People 2030 initiative, which is to reduce tobacco smoking by 5%. The other states would need to tighten their measures on tobacco control while hiking taxes to $1.37 per pack yearly.

The study author compared each state’s smoking prevalence for 2011-2019 with the initiative’s trend. The prevalence for each state varies widely. For instance, the figure is 23% in West Virginia and 7% in Utah. The price adjustment trends for 2011-2019 were 0% in Montana and Hawaii and -1.13% in DC. The annual target trend for West Virginia is -1.97% and -0.23% in Utah.

The researchers used the gap between annual target trends and proved adjustment trends to find the cigarette tax increase to enable individual states to reach the 5% goal. It also included other measures to reduce smoking, such as supporting smoking cessation, campaigns on the media, and banning indoor smoking.

States would have to increase cigarette excise tax to reach their goals 

The study showed that only five states could achieve the desired goal. These states included Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Utah, and Washington. The District of Columbia would also reach the 5% target.

The author calculated that most states would need to increase excise tax on cigarettes to $0.02 to $1.37 per pack for 2022-2030. Only 22 states have occasionally raised cigarette taxes from 2011 to 2021. This number shows that many states have not taken advantage of the cigarettes tax, which effectively reduces smoking. Cigarette smoking causes several health issues; hence it is important to use all available measures to curb it.

The study author suggests that for States to achieve the Healthy People Initiative 2030,  the desired price of cigarettes should be about $6.13 to $18.4.

Increasing excise taxes could affect low-income communities more

However, she also points out that there could be financial and unintended repercussions for people trying to stop smoking, especially those from low-income backgrounds. For this reason, States should tighten non-tax measures in low-income communities and look out for the tobacco industry’s interference to avoid unintended consequences.