Tax for Life?

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Story Updated: Nov 30, 2012

..would fewer people smoke?

And if fewer people smoked, would it cost the government less for healthcare?

The Congressional Budget Office wanted to know, so researchers there created a model to explore what would happen if the government increased the federal excise tax on cigarettes from $1.01 to $1.51 per pack.

The results: There would be 1-point-4 million fewer smokers by 2021 due to the policy. including 10-thousand adults who wouldn't have lived that long if they'd continued to smoke. By 2035, 63-thousand adult lives would be saved because of the tax. And by 2085, more than 3 million adults would be non-smokers due to the policy including about 200,000 who would have died earlier.

From a financial point of view, the model showed that Americans would be healthier, which would initially result in lower health care spending but eventually with more people living longer there would be an increased need for Social Security and Medicare funding.

The hope is that healthier individuals who are living longer, smoke free....will also be able to work longer and contribute to the system.

If you want to quit smoking now, you'll find some good tips at: http://www.smokefree.gov/

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the information you need to protect your health.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com