Many of us have seen headlines in Idaho about the current state budget surplus, some have even received a state tax refund at this point, so why, when the state has $1.4 BILLION in surplus, do we need to tax anything??
Well, there are many reasons that raising the tax on traditional tobacco products, like cigarettes, chew, and cigars are beneficial, like reducing adult use and youth initiation. But, what most people aren’t aware of, is that in Idaho electronic cigarettes, vape products, and electronic nicotine devices are not taxed in the same way as cigarettes and other tobacco products. Or that the national average for cigarette taxes is $1.81 per pack, yet in Idaho, it is only $.57 cents! We also know that the state spends over $500 million each year on tobacco related illnesses, and that we all spend more on things like insurance premiums to cover these costs. Raising the tax on tobacco and nicotine products would provide funds to help alleviate the costs of these products.
hero_image_alt_text===A pack of cigarettes with dollar bills rolled up inside the pack
thumbnail_alt_text===A pack of cigarettes with dollar bills rolled up inside the pack
We also know that the tobacco industry has consistently targeted specific populations. We’ve seen them advertise directly to youth, which increases addiction levels, making them customers for life. We’ve also seen targeted marketing towards low income, minority, and military populations. And they manipulate the pricing of products specifically to focus their efforts at populations that are more responsive to price fluctuations.
When we support increased tobacco taxes, we don’t look at it as higher revenue for the state, we support it because the research shows that we can reduce use, we can increase the number of people trying to quit, and we can reduce the numbers of young people ever starting to smoke in the first place.
We advocate for increased tobacco taxes in Idaho, because there is no safe use of these products. We know we need to include electronic products in these taxes because of the rapid rise in youth use of electronic and flavored tobacco and nicotine. And we support increased tax on all tobacco and nicotine products because of the negative health impact these have on our friends and neighbors
If you want to help us protect our communities and our youth from the dangers of tobacco and nicotine addiction, and to help current smokers try to quit, we ask you to support our tobacco tax efforts to increase the current tax and include electronic tobacco and nicotine devices in these laws.