A new report released today by the National Women’s Law Center and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Raising Smart, Healthy Kids: Expanding Early Education Initiatives with Funding from the Federal Tobacco Tax, takes a detailed look at the impact of President Obama’s proposal to expand early childhood education and fund it with a 94¢ increase in the federal cigarette taxes. This initiative would ensure that two million children from low- and moderate-income families have access to high-quality preschool, and it would prevent 1.7 million kids from smoking. As the title of the report suggests, this initiative would help raise smart, healthy kids in every state, including right here in Maine.
According to the report, the proposed early learning initiative would benefit 662 Maine children who currently lack the opportunity to participate in high-quality preschool. In addition, increasing the federal excise tax on cigarettes would prevent 7,400 Maine children from becoming addicted adult smokers. In addition, 7,000 current adult smokers in the state would quit smoking because of the increased cost. Maine would experience $273.66 million long-term health care cost savings from adult and youth smoking declines.
“This report powerfully demonstrates the multiple ways in which our children would benefit from the President’s proposal to expand early education with revenue from a tobacco tax increase. This proposal would provide millions of kids with a strong start in life, while helping them live longer, healthier lives free of tobacco addiction,” said Susan M. Liss, Executive Director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.