Tag Archives: cigarette taxes

Ballot Initiative Would Triple Cigarette Taxes


An initiative aimed at next year’s ballot to more than triple the tax on California cigarettes would raise at least $1.3 billion annually, with the money going to an array of health and other programs, according to the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal adviser.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office reported Monday that the proposal to add $2 in taxes to a pack of cigarettes would increase the per-pack taxes to $2.87, which would increase the total cost to nearly $9 per pack. The current average retail cost of a pack of cigarettes is nearly $6. Cheap Lucky Strike cigarettes may be bought online

Other tobacco products  also would be subject to higher taxes if the initiative was approved — including nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, which would be taxed for the first time as a tobacco product.

“The $2 per pack cigarette tax increase would lead to an equivalent increase in the tax rate on other tobacco products, which is currently equivalent to a $1.37 per pack tax on cigarettes,” the LAO reported. “The new tax rate on other tobacco products would be equivalent to a $3.37 per pack tax on cigarettes.”

The proposed initiative initiative, which if approved would take effect in April 2017, is supported by the California Medical Association, the California Lung Association, the Service Employees International Union and hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer, among others.

Currently, about $400 million is collected annually from tobacco taxes and distributed to state and local governments, including programs to further tobacco research and health care, the LAO said.

The money collected under the new plan, between $1.3 billion and $1.6 billion, would be used for existing healthcare programs and services, including ” tobacco-related prevention and cessation programs, law enforcement programs (and) medical research on tobacco-related diseases.”

The University of California would receive some $40 million annually to increase the number of primary care and emergency physicians. Currently, about 8,000 graduate medical students are trained at six campuses.

In the past, increases in cigarette taxes have been accompanied by declines in cigarette use, as smokers find the increased cost prohibitive. But some smokers also may turn to purchasing cigarettes online in hopes of avoiding the potential tax. “For example, consumers could avoid paying the new tax on e-cigarettes by purchasing untaxed e-cigarettes from Internet vendors,” the LAO noted.

California voters in recent years have twice rejected increasing cigarette taxes. A bill to boost cigarette taxes, SB 591 by Sen. Richard Pan, a physician, was derailed earlier this year in the Legislature.

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Posted by on December 1, 2015 in Tobacco News


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John Ambrose: Raise Cigarette Taxes

Smoking Woman

There is absolutely nothing cool about cigarettes. They are deadly.

It is estimated that over 400,000 deaths yearly in the United States are smoking-related. At least one-fourth of all cardiovascular deaths are related to cigarettes. In the 50 years since the Surgeon General`s report in 1964 about the dangers of cigarettes, approximately 11 million American lives have been saved by discontinuing or never starting cigarette use.

Unfortunately, the negative effects are even more outrageous. About 100 million lives were lost in the 20th century from tobacco-related illnesses. Not only are these deaths related to heart disease, but most cancers and chronic lung disease are increased by smoking as well.

As a cardiologist, I see the effects of chronic smoking on a regular basis. Patients come to me with chronic shortness of breath related to cigarettes. In the emergency room, I see patients with an acute heart attack and either their only risk or a significant contributing risk factor is that they are long-term cigarette smokers. This is truly an epidemic and there is no end to it. Furthermore, once you are hooked on cigarettes, quitting long term is extremely difficult.

I have published extensively in peer-reviewed journals on the cause of heart attacks as well as on the relationship between cigarettes and heart disease. Thus, I consider myself qualified to discuss this subject.

What can be done?

While cigarette companies no longer advertise on TV or in print, and a tobacco settlement in 1998 compensated states for some of the medical costs related to smoking-related illnesses and funded anti-smoking advocacy, these efforts fall short.

About 18% of American adults are active smokers, and smoking is increasing in teens and young adults. In California, the prevalence has been lower than the national average; in the Valley, though, rates are higher than in the rest of California. It is a weel known fact that teens prefer to buy flavoured cigarettes such as Captain Black.

The tobacco companies continue to be very resourceful and one of their new targets has been to promote e-cigarette use, which delivers high doses of nicotine and other potentially toxic chemicals in the guise of aromatically flavored vapors. E-cigarettes are not regulated by the FDA and their use is increasing.

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Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Tobacco News