A new CSG Capitol Facts and Figures examines state cigarette taxes.

Cigarette taxes are a means to raise state revenue in a down economy as well as to discourage the use of tobacco.  Studies have found that increasing the price of tobacco effectively reduces smoking rates and can potentially save billions of dollars in medical expenses and loss of productivity annually.  However, states have failed to use the increased tax revenues to expand tobacco prevention and control programs.

While the modern office of the attorney general continues to perform its traditional role of providing legal advice and legal representation in matters affecting the state’s interests, those state interests now include an infinitely broader range of social and economic policies and protection of the public interest. Three of the top issues for attorneys general this year are cybercrime, consumer protection and tobacco. As the chief legal officer of each state or jurisdiction, attorneys general are committed to arresting online predators and providing services to victims of child pornography, protecting consumers during the economic downturn from lending abuses and scams, and continuing to interpret, implement and enforce the Master Settlement Agreement reached with the tobacco industry in 1998.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Council of State Governments encourages states and the federal government to support smoking cessation initiatives and the coverage of smoking cessation therapies to assist individuals in their efforts to quit smoking while reducing the cost burden of the complications from tobacco use on the Medicaid program and the economy;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council of State Governments urges state legislatures and state health officials to include the coverage of smoking cessation programs and treatments in their prevention and wellness initiatives with the goal of decreasing total health costs while improving the productivity of employees.