New Study: Tobacco Tax Saves Thousands of Lives, Billions of Dollars

Governor Doyle Urges Legislature to Approve $1.25 Increase


MADISON – A new report by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids states that a $1.25 increase in Wisconsin’s cigarette tax would prevent 84,000 kids from becoming addicted adult smokers, save more than 38,500 from premature smoking-related deaths, and create long-term health care savings of nearly $2 billion dollars.  Governor Doyle urged the Legislature to approve the $1.25 increase as part of his broad proposal to ensure affordable health care access for 98 percent of Wisconsin citizens. 


“It’s a fact: raising the cost of cigarettes will save lives,” Governor Doyle said.  We can prevent kids from starting to smoke, motivate others to quit, save billions in health are costs, and ensure affordable health care coverage to more citizens if the Legislature acts now.”


According to the report, each year, 7,300 adults in Wisconsin die from their own smoking, and 8,200 more kids become addicted daily smokers, totaling more than $2 billion in smoking-caused health costs.


Additionally, $1.25 increase in Wisconsin’s cigarette tax will cause 42,500 current adult smokers to quit, save 26,900 kids alive today from premature smoking-caused deaths and avoid 11,700 smoking-affected births in the next 5 years. 


The tax will also generate $252.8 million in new state cigarette tax revenues each year which the Governor plans to dedicate to fund the cost of tobacco-related illness, expand health care overage to every child in the state, and make health care more affordable for hardworking people.


The $1.25 cigarette tax is a part of the Governor’s larger campaign to help people quit smoking and live healthier lives.  To address public health and the hazards of second-hand smoke, Governor Doyle has called upon the legislature to ban smoking in all public buildings, workplaces, restaurants and taverns.  He has also proposed tripling the states smoking cessation and prevention programs. 


The report was sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco Free-Kids, American Lung Association of Wisconsin, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, and Smokefree Wisconsin.

To view the full report, visit: