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March 2009

Arkansas Passes Tobacco Tax Increase to Support Health Reform

In February, Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe signed into law Act 180 of 2009, increasing the tax on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products by 56 cents. This will reduce tobacco consumption and bring nearly $86 million in revenue to the state to fund several health programs, including:

  • A new coordinated trauma care system;
  • Increased ARKids First children’s health insurance program eligibility for children (from 200 to 250 percent);
  • ARHealthNetworks program;
  • Community health centers;
  • Joint use agreements for athletic facilities between schools and communities
  • Autism treatment and coordination;
  • Coordinated school health;
  • Medicaid adult dental services, expanded substance abuse treatment for children and pregnant women, breast and cervical cancer screenings, electronic health record support;
  • Hunger services;
  • Coordinated health data initiative;
  • Expanded medical school campus and area health education centers; and
  • Continued adult immunization services