After many years without a tobacco increase – and an actual decrease by the legislature in 2011 of 10 cents per pack – NH lawmakers will be considering increasing the excise tax on cigarettes. There is a House Bill to increase the tax by 20 cents and yesterday Governor Hassan presented her budget for 2014-2015, which includes a 30 cent increase.
Governor Hassan stated, “Cutting the cigarette tax in the last budget has put added strain on our state and put the health of our young people at risk. New Hampshire has the highest youth smoking rate in the Northeast, with 19.8 percent of high school students who smoke cigarettes.”
The American Heart Association knows raising the price of cigarettes by significant increases in the state excise tax is one of the most effective ways to keep kids from smoking. But studies have shown, it takes about a 10% increase in price of a pack of cigarettes to result in a 5-7% decrease in youth initiation and cessation.
Based upon the average price on a pack of cigarettes, the state would need to raise the tax by at least 60 cents to achieve any kind of public health impact and to help keep our young people from smoking. Please join us in asking for a meaningful cigarette tax increase by taking action today.