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Cancer fighters see more than $60B in health savings from Obama cigarette tax

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An advocacy wing of the American Cancer Society said Friday that President Obama’s proposed cigarette tax hike would save the nation more than $63 billion in long-term health care costs.

Another estimate by the society’s Cancer Action Network projected that savings from fewer smoking-related lung cancer cases will amount to $821 million over the next decade.

“For every pack of cigarettes sold in the United States, our country spends an additional $10.47 on health care costs,” said network CEO John R. Seffrin said. “Increasing the tobacco tax would dramatically reduce these costs and save lives at the same time.”

Mr. Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget proposal calls for a 94-cent hike in the federal cigarette tax to pay for an universal preschool initiative, bringing the levy to $1.95 per pack.

Supporters of the proposal say increasing the cost of tobacco products is the best way to force adults to quit and prevent children from taking up the habit. Lawmakers in the New York City this month said they will pursue legislation that raises the smoking age in the five boroughs from 18 to 21.

The cancer society said 443,000 American die from smoking-related diseases each year.

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