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Media Statement

For Immediate Release: April 30, 2010
Contact: Division of News & Electronic Media, Office of Communication
(404) 639-3286

States Make Progress in Implementing Proven Interventions to Address Tobacco Use Epidemic

Effective May 1, Washington State cigarette excise taxes increase $1.00 per pack, and a new Michigan law makes workplaces and public places within the state smoke-free.

Tobacco use is the single leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. Evidence-based interventions that have the most success in combating this epidemic include price increases and smoke-free policies. With their recent legislative actions, Washington and Michigan have both made progress implementing these proven strategies.

Washington’s cigarette excise tax increase raises the state’s tax from $2.025 to $3.025 per pack and places the state second only to Rhode Island ($3.46 per pack) in state cigarette excise tax rates. The excise tax hike also raises the national average from $1.34 to $1.36 per pack.

Cigarette price increases discourage initiation among youth, prompt quit attempts, and reduce cigarette consumption. Studies have shown a 10% increase in the price of cigarettes result in a 4% decrease in cigarette consumption among adults.

In July, cigarette excise tax increases are expected to also take place in Hawaii, Utah, and New Mexico.

With Michigan’s new statewide smoke-free law, 22 states and the District of Columbia now have a comprehensive smoke-free law that prohibits smoking in workplaces, restaurants, and bars.

Secondhand smoke causes an estimated 46,000 heart attacks and 3,400 lung cancer deaths each year.  In 2006, the Surgeon General concluded that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that eliminating smoking from all indoor areas is the only way to fully protect people from secondhand smoke exposure.  Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings are not effective ways to protect the public from secondhand smoke exposure.

Strong smoke-free laws have been associated with a rapid and substantial reduction in hospitalizations for heart attacks.  In 2009, the Institute of Medicine concluded that secondhand smoke exposure could trigger a heart attack and confirmed that jurisdictions that enact and enforce smoke-free policies experience a reduction in heart attack hospitalizations.  Two recent scientific studies that reviewed this topic estimated that, on average, heart attack hospitalizations drop 8% to 17% the first year after implementation of a smoke-free law.

In July, comprehensive smoke-free laws are also expected to take effect in Kansas and Wisconsin. 


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System. Available at

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tobacco Control State Highlights, 2010. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2010. Available at

Institute of Medicine. Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence. Washington: The National Academies Press; 2009. Available at

Lightwood JM, Glantz SA. Declines in acute myocardial infarction after smoke-free laws and individual risk attributable to secondhand smoke. Circulation. 2009;120(14):1373–9.

Meyers DG, Neuberger JS, He J. Cardiovascular effect of bans on smoking in public places: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2009;54(14):1256–7.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coordinating Center for Health Promotion, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2006. Available at

Washington State Legislature Web Page. Available at


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