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Health Groups Urge Cigarette Tax Collection

Originally Posted: March 02, 2010

Albany - The American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and the American Lung Association in New York called for prompt implementation of new regulations issued by the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance designed to end cigarette tax evasion.

"We are encouraged by the Tax Department's announcement of new regulations," said Russell Sciandra of the American Cancer Society. "However, the Administration must pursue swift implementation and strong enforcement of these new rules to ensure tax collection begins this calendar year."

"New York State is hemorrhaging crucial tax revenue to the tune of at least $1.6 million per day - that's almost $20 per second - money that the state desperately needs for public health programs," said Julianne Hart of the American Heart Association.

"Raising the price of cigarettes is the most effective method to decrease kids' smoking," said Michael Seilback of the American Lung Association in New York. "When more than 25,000 New Yorkers die each year as a result of tobacco-related illnesses, we need to do everything we can to discourage smoking."

Because higher prices discourage consumption, tobacco's grip on at least 100,000 nicotine addicts will go up in smoke when consumers have to pay the taxes due on their cigarettes, and thousands of kids will be spared the pain of nicotine addiction. Advocates estimate the state will collect at least $600 million in additional revenue, enabling New York to sustain vital health programs.

The NYS Department of Taxation and Finance's new regulations aim at curbing the flow of untaxed cigarettes via Indian reservations. They require that tobacco manufacturers sell cigarettes only to licensed stamping agents who certify that they do not do business with tax-free retailers.

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