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Anti-smoking activists urge adoption of Obama tax proposal to pay for preschool expansion

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A new report from a coalition of anti-smoking groups is calling for the adoption of a proposal by President Barack Obama to create greater access to early childhood education.

The report claims that more than 900 kids become regular smokers each day.

The report is titled "Raising, Smart, Healthy Kids in Every State" and details how the proposal would help children live longer, healthier tobacco-free lives.

The organizations who issued the report include: the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, National Women's Law Center and Save the Children.

The group said a proposal in Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget calls for expanding federal funding for early childhood education by raising the federal tax on cigarettes by 94 cents and similar tax increases on other tobacco products.

Activists said the proposal would lead to better education, employment prospects, health and overall quality of life for many American children.

The coalition said it could break down what that would mean for families state by state.

In Ohio, it could mean 12,628 children from low- and moderate-income families who could participate in preschool in the first year. It would also mean an additional $103.4 million for preschool in the first year.

The group claims it would also prevent 88,500 kids from becoming adult smokes and save 49,200 residents from premature smoking-related deaths.

Nationwide, it would provide 334,000 children with access to preschool programs and that figure would increase to 2 million children by the 10th year.

More information about the report and the proposal can be found at www.smarthealthykids.org.

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