"For every pack of cigarettes sold in the United States, our country spends an additional $10.47 on healthcare costs. Increasing the tobacco tax would dramatically reduce these costs and save lives at the same time."
The current federal tax on cigarettes is $1.01 per pack. Obama proposed a 94-cent increase in his 2014 budget to expand access to preschool education. The White House estimates the move would raise about $78 billion.
Conservatives have opposed the proposal, saying it represents a tax hike on lower- and middle-income individuals.
"The bad news for the president is that there's simply no way to twist this data: a tax hike on smokers is a tax hike on the very people he promised not to tax," Jason Hughey, a policy analyst with Americans for Prosperity, wrote online this month.