Wyoming Rejects Proposed Cigarette Tax Hike

The bill to raise the state’s cigarette tax by $1.25 per pack didn’t make it out of a joint committee.
September 26, 2016

BUFFALO, Wyo. – Late last week, a Wyoming House-Senate committee killed another attempt to raise the state’s cigarette tax by $1.25 per pack, the Caspar Star Tribune reports. The Joint Revenue Committee had been asked by the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network to increase the tax from its current 60 cents per pack. Rep. Mike Madden suggested a compromise by raising the tax 30 cents to reach 90 cents per pack, but that was rejected as well.

The Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association testified that if Wyoming jacked up the cigarette tax, smokers would simply drive across the border and pick up cheaper cigarettes. The association also pointed out that such a tax increase would trigger a correlating bump in black market cigarettes in the state.

“As difficult as times are right now, it would not be welcome [to lose additional revenue from tobacco sales],” said Mike Moser with the Wyoming State Liquor Association.

In November, North Dakota voters will consider whether to raise the state cigarette tax to $2.20 per pack. Meanwhile, California voters could have the chance to vote on jacking up their state’s cigarette tax by $2 during the November elections. California also recently raised the tobacco buying age to 21. For more on why states and municipalities continue to increase the age limit for tobacco purchases, read “Must Be 21 to Buy” in the March issue of NACS Magazine.