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Obama to use tobacco tax to fund pre-school

April 5, 2013 11:30 pm

Obama to use tobacco tax to fund pre-school

By James Politi in Washington

Barack Obama is planning to raise taxes on tobacco to fund a plan to provide pre-school education to all American four-year-olds, a senior administration official said on Friday, as more details on next week’s White House budget emerged.

“This proposal would give all our kids the best start early in life, and save hard-working families thousands each year in childcare costs,” the official said. It was “fully paid for in this budget by raising taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products”.

The federal excise tax on cigarettes in the US is $1.01, and was last raised in early 2009 as part of one of the president’s first pieces of legislation to provide health cover for uninsured children.

Obama administration officials have not yet specified how high they would like to see the tobacco tax raised, though it might have to be substantial to cover the cost of the education proposal. Analysts have estimated the plan could cost $10bn or more over 10 years.

The proposal was one of several disclosed by senior administration officials on Friday. Telephone: 020 7404 0242

Anger as tobacco firm contests benefits of plain packaging

Tobacco giant Japan Tobacco International will today launch a public campaign contesting the evidence behind the Scottish Government’s proposals to introduce standardised packaging.

The tobacco manufacturer plans to release correspondence from 2011, obtained by freedom of information, which they claim indicates officials in Whitehall were unsure whether the new law would have an impact on cutting smoking rates.

Since this date however there has been further research and the Scottish Government says there is now “strong evidence” that standard packs will be beneficial in reducing smoking, especially in young people.

Japan Tobacco International was reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority earlier this year for an advertising campaign which similarly challenged the evidence behind the proposal.

Source: The Independent, 07 April 2013

‘Business fears’ cast cloud over future of artificial cigarettes

The Times reports that a decision over the regulation of electronic cigarettes will now be delayed. The government’s drug regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, had been expected to make an announcement this spring but is not currently in a ready position to make this deadline.

A concern that regulation could stifle the fledgling e-cigarette industry in the UK is believed to be one of the reasons a decision is as yet not forthcoming.

Health organisations have called on the government to properly license such products to ensure their safety and to eliminate the large heterogeneity that exists between such products in the current market.

Source: The Times (subscription required), 08 April 2013

Sutton Council invests in tobacco while asking us to quit smoking (same as our MPFA TRUSTEES)

Sutton Council has come in line for criticism after it was revealed that the local authority has money invested in the tobacco industry as part of its pension fund investments.

Public health responsibilities have now transferred to local authorities in England and there have been calls for councils to disinvest any holdings they might have in the tobacco industry.

Amanda Sandford, research manager for ASH, said: “Sutton Council should join the growing band of other local authorities that have pledged to disinvest in tobacco and to place their pension funds in more ethical businesses”.

Source: Surrey Comet, 04 April 2013

Ban cigarettes in cars with kids, fumes MSP Jim Hume

Jim Hume, Liberal Democrat MSP for the Borders, has proposed a members’ bill in the Scottish Parliament to ban passive smoking in cars that are carrying children.

Announcing the decision, Mr Hume criticised the fact that private vehicles remain one of the last remaining places that young children can be exposed to second hand smoke.

Source: The Southern Reporter, 08 April 2013

US: Obama to use tobacco tax to fund pre-school

Barack Obama has announced plans to increase taxes on tobacco in a move that would fund education for all American children of pre-school age.

The fine details of such proposals are as yet unclear but it is expected that the programme would cost $10bn or more over 10 years.

Source: The Financial Times, 05 April 2013
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