Our state tax is 42.5 cents, the 47th lowest in the country. The national average is $1.46 per pack. Gov. Robert Bentley has said he will not support any tax increase proposals that impact Alabama families. However, a cigarette tax increase would significantly benefit Alabama families.
A tax increase would reduce the number of young people — those under age 18 — who smoke. In fact, 34,200 young people would never start smoking if the cigarette tax were increased by $1. Some 33,200 adults would quit smoking, too. And 20,000 lives would be saved from smoking-related deaths. Those are real, family-impacting numbers from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
An additional tax on non-cigarette tobacco products to bring them in line with cigarettes will keep kids from switching to these products and provide additional health benefits.
The idea for a tobacco tax increase should not be dismissed out of hand. Our state would benefit tremendously from a $1 per pack increase on cigarettes, and also be much closer to the national average than we are now. Let’s not settle for 47th place.