Nationally Renowned Economist Finds Proposition A Would Keep 49,300 Missouri Youth From Smoking
ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 28, 2002--A group of children's advocates - representing education, faith-based, and health organizations - today released findings by a nationally known economist showing that passage of Proposition A, the Healthy Missour
The study was conducted by Frank Chaloupka, Ph.D., director of the Health Policy Center and Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois Chicago. Dr. Chaloupka is one of the nation's foremost economic experts on tobacco use. His independent findings quantify some of the benefits that will come from passage of Proposition A.
Proposition A would raise Missouri's excise tax on cigarettes by 55 cents a pack and 20 percent on other tobacco products to fund five specific health-related initiatives, including increasing access to quality health care; making prescription drugs more affordable for seniors; preventing and reducing smoking, especially among children; supporting cutting-edge medical research; and expanding early-childhood education programs.
"What more will it take to motivate Missouri voters? Our children's future is on the line and Dr. Chaloupka's study makes it clear ... for their future, support Proposition A," said Beth Griffin, Executive Director of Citizens for Missouri's Children. "These findings should be sobering for all of us. It reinforces the fact that this proposal is about our kids. It is about their health. It is about their lives. On behalf of the kids in this state, Citizens for Missouri's Children asks that if you vote for Proposition A for no other reason, then do it for these 50,000 Missouri kids. It is up to you."
The findings by Dr. Chaloupka were based in part on the results of a long-term study of adolescents' smoking behavior over time. Dr. Chaloupka's analysis also found that the tax increase would result in 36,900 fewer adult smokers, preventing 8,100 premature smoking attributable deaths in this group.
"If you're still undecided on how to vote on November 5, look around you. Look at the kids you know and love," said Reverend B.T. Rice, representing the Black Leadership Roundtable and the St. Louis Clergy Coalition. "They may be among the 50,000 youth of today who won't smoke because of Proposition A. They may be among the almost 16,000 who won't die prematurely because of Proposition A. They are among the kids from across the state who will benefit if we pass Proposition A. This is about our kids. And, Proposition A is worth it."
According to statistics released by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, each year, 17,000 Missouri youth are becoming daily smokers. The work of Dr. Chaloupka proves that increasing the excise tax on tobacco products is the most effective way to keep our children off tobacco. Missouri's excise tax on tobacco is one of the lowest in the nation, with only seven states having lower taxes. Even with the increase authorized under Proposition A, Missouri's tax will still be ranked toward the middle of states across the nation.
"The science is clear," said Dr. Chaloupka. "Raising the excise tax on cigarettes will decrease the number of kids who will start smoking. This group is more price sensitive than any other age group. And, given that 90 percent of smokers start before they are 18, an excise tax increase is one of the most effective measures in keeping young people from taking up smoking in the first place."
Dr. Chaloupka's research focuses on the economic analysis of substance use and abuse, and emphasizes the role of prices and substance control policies in affecting the demands for tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs, as well as outcomes related to substance use and abuse. In addition to his faculty positions with the University of Illinois Chicago, Dr. Chaloupka is Director of the International Tobacco Evidence Network and a Research Associate in the Health Economics Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). NBER is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works. NBER's research is conducted by more than 600 university professors around the United States, who are the leading scholars in their fields.
Citizens for a Healthy Missouri is a coalition of thousands of doctors, nurses, educators, senior citizens, parents, business, community and civic leaders, public health advocates and others from across Missouri, representing organizations including the Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Civic Progress (St. Louis), Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, AARP Missouri, the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, the Missouri PTA, Missouri NEA, Cooperating School Districts of Suburban St. Louis, and Cooperating School Districts of Greater Kansas City. For a complete list of endorsements and other information about Proposition A, visit our Web site: www.healthymissouri.org.