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Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

1. State Cigarette Excise Taxes — United States, 2009

CDC Division of News and Electronic Media
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Increasing cigarette excise taxes is one of the most reliable, cost-effective tobacco control policies.  Higher taxes directly increase cigarette prices and reduce cigarette use, which in turn decreases smoking-related diseases, death, and health care costs.  A newly published review by CDC found that last year, 14 states and D.C. increased their state cigarette excise taxes.  The national average state excise tax increased from $1.18 per pack in 2008 to $1.34 per pack in 2009.  At the end of 2009, cigarette excise taxes ranged from 7 cents per pack in South Carolina to $3.46 per pack in Rhode Island.  None of the 15 states that raised their cigarette excise taxes in 2009 dedicated any of the new revenues to tobacco control.  States can further reduce cigarette use by investing a portion of excise tax revenues in tobacco prevention and control efforts.

 

2.State Cigarette Minimum Price Laws — United States, 2009

CDC Division of News and Electronic Media
(404) 639-3286

Minimum price laws have the potential to meaningfully raise cigarette prices in states with low cigarette excise tax rates, thereby reducing youth initiation and adult consumption and encouraging tobacco users to attempt to quit. To counteract the effect of excise tax increases and to appeal to price-sensitive smokers, cigarette manufacturers use discounts, coupons, and other promotions to reduce the retail price of cigarettes. A new CDC report found that as of December 31, 2009, 24 states and D.C. have laws in effect that set a minimum price for cigarettes.  These minimum price laws can help states preserve the effect excise tax increases have on cigarette prices and counteract price manipulations by cigarette manufacturers that target youth and lower-income individuals.

 

3. Human Rabies — Kentucky/Indiana, 2009

CDC Division of News and Electronic Media
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Recognizing and diagnosing human rabies is critical in initiating a public health response and implementing appropriate prevention and control measures.  A 43-year-old man from Indiana died of rabies at a Kentucky hospital in October, 2009.  Because local pathologists were concerned about the biosafety risks of conducting an autopsy on a suspected human rabies patient, CDC staff members traveled to Kentucky and performed the autopsy. Testing of the patient’s samples revealed a rabies virus variant associated with bats indicating the need for increased public awareness of the need to seek medical attention following animal bites (particularly bats) or other potential rabies virus exposures.  In response, CDC has produced recommendations that can help those conducting autopsies stay safe when human rabies is suspected or confirmed.  These new recommendations can help those performing autopsies stay safe and increase opportunities to diagnose rabies and learn more about the disease, which can lead to improved prevention and control efforts.


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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

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