Raising South Carolina’s cigarette tax by $1 per pack would bring in $209 million in new annual revenue to help close the state’s budget shortfall, while also reducing the numbers of people who smoke and save lives, that’s according to a national report released Wednesday by a coalition of public health organizations including the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association , American Lung Association, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
According to the report with a $1 dollar increase in the cigarette tax, South Carolina could prevent 46, 700 kids from becoming smokers, spur 25,700 current adults smokers to quit, save 21, 700 residents from premature, smoking-caused deaths , and save $1 billion in health care costs.
The report comes one week after State Superintendent of Education and Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Jim Rex called for the state to finally raise the nation’s lowest in the nation seven cents per pack cigarette tax to the national average $1.34 per pack. Rex called for the revenue to be used for Education for a brief term during the recession and for health care. South Carolina’s state cigarette tax was last raised in 1977.