Three States Contemplating Tobacco Tax Hikes

California, Colorado and North Dakota would each raise the cigarette tax, to as high as $2.87 per pack.
November 02, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Next week, voters in three states will decide whether to increase their state’s tobacco tax, AMI Newswire reports. California’s Proposition 56 would increase its cigarette tax to $2.87 a pack, plus apply a proportional tax to e-cigarettes.

Over in Colorado, voters are considering Amendment 72, which would jack its cigarette tax to $2.60 per pack while exempting electronic cigarettes. North Dakota’s Measure 4 would raise the cigarette tax to $2.20 a pack, along with a similar measure to California for e-cigs.

The measures would significantly raise cigarette taxes in each of the three states. Currently, California has a 87 cent per cigarette pack tax. Colorado’s comes in at 84 cents per pack, while North Dakota’s is 44 cents per pack.

Opponents, including tobacco firms, have been out in force in all three states to drum up support against raising tobacco taxes. For example, those against Measure 4 in North Dakota have voiced their concerns about the impact on local merchants, given that tobacco sales comprise 38% of all convenience store transactions. “The higher tax could cause a decline in taxable cigarette sales in North Dakota as people look for alternatives to avoid the higher tax, such as purchases across state lines or buying cigarettes on the Internet or from Native American reservations,” read one fact sheet against the measure, the news source reported.