Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Rep. Jim Waldman asked to share this with you. Please don't hesitate to call if you have any questions.


RONA SILBERMAN 954-956-5600

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – State Rep. Jim Waldman (D-Coconut Creek) will once again file his cigarette user fee bill for the 2009 legislative session.

The bill, which is presently being prepared for filing, will raise the user fee on cigarettes by $1. Income from this fee (which has been estimated at $1.1 billion each year) will partially be used for specific health programs and medical research. The balance will go into general revenue.

"Florida's cigarette user fee is presently 33.9 cents per pack. The national average is $1.11. We rank 46th in the nation in the amount we charge," said Waldman.

"Polls show that 79 percent of Floridians agree that this fee should be raised. But, my main objective in filing this bill is to stop young people from smoking. Studies find that every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes will decrease the number of young people who smoke by 7 percent. Enactment of this fee will stop 212,000 kids from starting to smoke," he added.

"Smoking accounts for 30 percent of all cancer deaths and is a major cause of heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. As a result, Florida spends most of its Medicaid money on these smoking related illnesses. Money collected from this fee would supplant the general revenue the state is spending on Medicaid, and that money will then be freed up to pay for other important state needs such as education," Waldman concluded.

This bill is supported by the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, and the Florida Hospital Association, among other health-related associations.

For further information regarding this issue, please contact Representative Waldman's office at 954-956-5600 or by e-mail at jim.waldman@ myfloridahouse. gov.

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