American Lung Association Urges House of Representatives to Increase Excise Tax to Fund SCHIP

Increase a Win-Win for Public Health

Washington, DC (July 27, 2007)

American Lung Association President and CEO Bernadette A. Toomey sent a letter today to Members of the U.S. House of Representatives encouraging their support for an increase in the federal tobacco tax to fund the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). 

“Increasing the federal tobacco tax is a win-win for children’s health.  In addition to providing much needed medical care for our nation’s youth—including those living with lung diseases such as asthma—a substantial increase of $.61 will have the added benefit of reducing youth smoking,” Toomey wrote in her letter. 

Expanding SCHIP will provide health insurance to many of the 8-9 million uninsured children in the U.S. including those who are eligible for, but not currently participating in, public health programs for low-income children. In 2004, nearly 6.2 million children under the age of 18 had asthma.  Childhood asthma not only afflicts millions of children, but it also results in increased absenteeism from school and hospitalization, costing a total of 14 million lost school days and $11.5 billion in direct health care costs.

The American Lung Association recognizes the potential of this legislation and urges representatives to take a strong supporting position during Congressional deliberations.  “Representatives have a tremendous opportunity to reduce the burden of lung disease and promote the public health.  A $0.61 increase in the federal cigarette tax will do both by discouraging youth smoking and enhancing funding for the SCHIP Program.”

About the American Lung Association
Beginning our second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease death rates continue to increase while other leading causes of death have declined. The American Lung Association funds vital research on the causes of and treatments for lung disease. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is “Improving life, one breath at a time.” For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or log on to
www.lung.org.

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