Tax Hikes Proposed on All Tobacco Products as States Seek to Close Loopholes, Thwart Industry

January 30, 2012

States around the country are getting wise to the tobacco industry's promotion of products such as sweet-flavored cigars and smokeless tobacco as a way to hook kids and offset the decline in cigarette smoking:  Increasingly, governors and lawmakers are proposing higher taxes on 'other tobacco products' that too often have been left out when cigarette taxes are hiked.

Raising tobacco taxes remains the best way to keep kids from using tobacco, help current users quit and raise much-needed revenues for cash-starved state budgets. But leaving out smokeless tobacco, cigars and other tobacco products when cigarette taxes have been hiked has created a price gap that keeps other tobacco products relatively inexpensive — and more affordable to kids. The tobacco industry has exploited this loophole as it steps up its marketing of smokeless tobacco and pushes 'little cigars' — some of them flavored like candy and fruit to appeal to kids.

Fortunately, state officials around the country are moving to close the tobacco tax gap:

'Raising the price of tobacco has proven to be an effective way to steer people' from a deadly addiction, the Baltimore Sun writes.  'And discouraging everyone from using tobacco in any form is always a good idea.'