Excise Taxes

State

Raising cigarette tax difficult in Missouri (MO)
Despite large budget cuts affecting social services and educational programs, an increase in cigarette taxes is seen as unlikely to happen in Missouri. Supporters of a tax increase say that the money would be useful in paying for Medicaid and other medical expenses, and also has the added benefit of discouraging smoking. Governor Jay Nixon says he is unwilling to raise taxes until voters show their support. Bills aimed at increasing the tax have not made it past committee for the past two years. Missouri’s cigarette tax is currently the lowest in the nation, at 17 cents per pack. Click here to read more.

Cigarette tax increased to keep state running (NY)
The New York State Legislature has passed a bill that will raise state cigarette tax by $1.60 per pack, making New York’s state cigarette tax the highest in the country when it goes into effect July 1. Smokeless tobacco taxes will increase from 96 cents to $2 per ounce, the wholesale tobacco tax will rise from 46% to 75%. The bill also includes plans to collect taxes on cigarettes sold on Indian reservations to non-reservation members. The taxes are expected to create $440 million for health care programs, and will help keep government operations running. The bill narrowly passed as part of an emergency budget measure, with votes split along party lines. Click here to read more, or click here to view a press release from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (TFK) that lauds the tobacco tax increase as a health win, a financial win for state programs, and a political win that is popular among voters. Click here to access TFK’s tobacco tax fact sheets, which have been updated to reflect New York’s tax increase. The overall state average tobacco tax is now $1.45, with an average state tax of 48 cents in major tobacco-growing states.

Poll shows support for raising W.Va. cigarette tax (WV)
According to poll results released this June by the Coalition for a Tobacco Free West Virginia and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, 63% of registered voters in West Virginia support a $1 tobacco tax increase as a solution to state budget shortfalls and to reduce youth smoking. A majority of voters were supportive of a tobacco tax regardless of political affiliation. West Virginia’s state cigarette tax is currently 55 cents per pack, ranking 44th in the country, and falling short of the national average. The survey of 500 registered West Virginia voters was conducted by the polling firm The Mellman Group. Click here to read the full story, or click here to read the press release from the tobacco prevention groups.

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National

House Ways and Means Subcommittee takes critical first step to protect public health and taxpayers from tobacco smuggling
Congress has begun to review the Smuggled Tobacco Prevention (STOP) Act, a law that would require tobacco companies and importers to use unique identification marks on tobacco packages, enabling the packages to be better tracked and traced. The STOP Act would also prohibit manufacturers and importers from delivering products for sale until federal taxes have been paid, and would establish record-keeping and permit requirements to help law enforcement keep the products within legal distribution chains. Click here to read more about the STOP Act in a press release from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (TFK), or here to read the testimony submitted to Congress by TFK and other health organizations.

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International

The economics of tobacco and tobacco taxation in Mexico (Mexico)
Mexico is gradually increasing its cigarette tax from .8 pesos per pack in 2010 to 2 pesos per pack in 2013 – a measure that will save 100,000 lives. A new report from the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease indicates that raising the cigarette tax to 20 pesos per pack (or 75% of the retail price) by 2013 would have a far greater public health impact. The report projects that a 20-peso tax would prevent nearly 1 million deaths, and raise over 41 billion pesos in excise tax revenues in 2013. The report notes that a substantial tax increase is compatible with international best practices in tobacco control. The report concludes with the recommendations that taxes should be adjusted for inflation and that part of the tax revenue should be earmarked for public health efforts to reduce tobacco consumption. Click here to download the report or summaries in either English or Spanish. Click here to read about a press conference to launch the report.

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