Survey: majority favor increased tobacco tax - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Survey: majority favor increased tobacco tax

Posted: Updated: April 15, 2013 10:50 AM
Source: AP Source: AP

BATON ROUGE, La (KNOE 8 News) – A new poll released Monday shows 73% of Louisiana voters support raising the tobacco tax.

The poll released by the American Cancer Society Action Network indicates voters favor raising the tax by $1.05 per pack to help fund health care programs, including programs to reduce tobacco use. Just 25 percent of voters oppose increasing the tobacco tax.

This support comes from a broad-based coalition of voters, including 74 percent of Republicans, 71 percent of Democrats and 78 percent of independents. In addition, voters from across the state and across virtually every demographic group support the tobacco tax increase.

The statewide survey of 500 likely voters was released by the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Louisiana, a broad coalition of health organizations across the state including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The poll was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The poll found that Louisiana voters strongly prefer the tobacco tax over other options for addressing the state's budget shortfall. When presented with a list of options for helping the state balance the budget, two-thirds of voters support increasing the tobacco tax for this purpose, while a majority opposed all other options tested, including increasing sales and gasoline taxes or reducing funding for health care, higher education or Medicaid services.

In addition to supporting raising the tobacco tax, the survey also found among Louisiana voters:

  • 69 percent are more likely to support a candidate who favors the tobacco tax increase.
  • 80 percent support increasing the tax on other tobacco products so those products are taxed at a rate comparable to cigarettes.

The poll also found that funding health care programs is voters' preferred way to utilize new tobacco tax revenue. At least two-thirds of Louisiana voters favor dedicating this revenue to funding health care initiatives, including cancer research (86 percent), programs to reduce tobacco use among kids (80 percent), Medicaid (76 percent) and preventing cuts to health care programs (68 percent). A majority of voters (62 percent) would also support dedicating some revenue from a tobacco tax increase to reducing the state budget shortfall.

Louisiana's current cigarette tax is 36 cents per pack, which ranks 49th in the nation and is well below the state average of $1.48 per pack. Increasing the tobacco tax by $1.05 per pack would raise more than $230 million in new revenue each year.

Full poll results are available at: http://www.acscan.org/action/la/campaigns/httpwwwacscanorgpetitionlatobaccotax/

The survey was conducted by landline and cell phone, using live interviewers, April 7-9, 2013 among a random sample of 500 likely 2014 general election voters statewide. To assure data are representative of the voting population, results were checked against statewide voter statistics and weighted by key demographics, when necessary. The overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.38% at the 95% confidence level. The survey was conducted by the polling firm Public Opinion Strategies.  Complete methodological information is available upon request by contacting the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids at nveatch@tobaccofreekids.org.

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