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Steep Tax Would Curb Youth Smoking

Study: Spending money on programs would cut rate sharply

MONDAY, July 19, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Slapping a $1-a-pack tax on cigarettes and putting the money into antismoking campaigns could cut the number of young smokers by more than a quarter, a new study says.

Such a measure could avoid more than 108,000 smoking-related deaths by the time today's teenagers reach age 85, said Dr. Frederick P. Rivara, of the University of Washington in Seattle.

Previous research has shown that increasing cigarette prices reduces adolescent smoking, as do multimedia antismoking campaigns.

Rivara studied the effects of combining the two approaches, and found that such action could sharply cut smoking. There would be 26 percent fewer smokers by age 18 and a similar decline in current and former smokers at age 35.

"In the population of people aged 18 years in 2000, 108,466 lives and 1.6 million years of potential life lost would be saved by preventing 26 percent of smoking attributable mortality," Rivara said in a statement.

The research appears in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

More information

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about smoking.

SOURCES: University of Washington in Seattle, news release, July 15, 2004
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