Tobacco Taxes: No Means No

For the second consecutive year Congress is talking about raising cigarette taxes by as much as $6.10 a carton to fund a $35 billion expansion of the SCHIP health program. A vote could happen as early as this month.

Since 2000, cigarette excise taxes have been raised 88 times increasing the cost of cigarettes, an average of 93% since 1999.

Retailers stand to lose the most if taxes are again increased. Cigarettes are a significant source of revenue for industry retailers and wholesalers. A federal cigarette excise tax could provide further incentive for smuggling and other contraband activities, such as counterfeit. Ultimately, the proposal could lead to lost jobs in the retail sector.

Tobacco supporters are urging storeowners across all retail channels to inform customers about this important issue. A toll-free hotline for storeowners has been set up for operators to reach their legislators. The number is (866) 527-4494.

According to activation materials supplied by Philip Morris, it’s not fair for adult smokers to bear the costs of broad-based programs like this one. Plus in tough economic times like these, it just doesn’t make sense to raise taxes. Retailers are urged to ask their elected officials to vote ‘no’ on any FET increase and to tell elected official that this is an issue of great importance, and that you will remember how they vote on it.

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