In light of the new tobacco tax going that went into effect over the weekend, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reminds Californians that resources are available to help them kick the habit.
On April 1, the tax on a pack of cigarettes increased $2, from $0.87 to $2.87. This increase is a result of Proposition 56, the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act, which was approved by voters last November.
Californians who want help to quit smoking can call the California Smokers’ Helpline at 1-800-NO BUTTS. The helpline provides smokers free telephone counseling and plans to help them quit. The Helpline is staffed with trained counselors who are fluent in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Vietnamese. Additional resources and materials are available at www.nobutts.org.
“We know most smokers want to quit, and paying more for their habit could be the extra motivation they need to make an important life-saving step,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. “Quitting smoking helps protect your physical and financial health. A smoker who quits today could save nearly $1,500 in just one year.”
Smoking remains the number one cause of preventable death and disease in California. About 3.1 million, or one out of nine, California adults smoke, and an estimated 34,000 Californians die from smoking-related diseases each year.
The state’s new tax increase also impacts tobacco products like electroniccigarettes and e-liquids, which are taxed based on their wholesale cost.
Proposition 56 funds tobacco-use prevention programs, the new state Oral Health Program and research on tobacco-related illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. It also strengthens the Medi-Cal health care system and provides additional resources for CDPH to enforce underage tobacco-sales laws.
The California Tobacco Control Program was established by the Tobacco Tax and Health Protection Act of 1988. California’s comprehensive approach has changed social norms around tobacco use and secondhand smoke. California’s tobacco control efforts have reduced both adult and youth smoking rates by 50 percent, saved more than one million lives and have resulted in $134 billion worth of savings in health care costs. Learn more at TobaccoFreeCA.com.