We have some great news to share that the Fairbanks City Council voted unanimously to more than double their tobacco excise tax from 8% to 20%. This is a huge step in lessening the use of tobacco in the city.
hero_image_alt_text===Dollar bills rolled into a package of tobacco products
thumbnail_alt_text===Dollar bills rolled into a package of tobacco products
The current tax is only 8%, far lower than other jurisdictions and the state.
This is significant given tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in Alaska, claiming approximately 700 lives each year. Furthermore, in the Interior Region, 23% of adults and nearly 30% of high school students currently use some form of tobacco or nicotine product with e-cigarettes the most used product among high school students.
The American Heart Association has long advocated for the passage of policies that raise the tax on tobacco, limit exposure to secondhand smoke and discourage the use of tobacco by youth.
Increasing the tax on tobacco is a proven method to protect youth from these deadly products. Teenagers are especially price sensitive, so a higher tax will stop many young people from becoming addicted in the first place and from developing life-threatening diseases like heart disease, lung cancer, stroke and other chronic diseases.
We commend the City Council for raising the tax on these deadly products--saving lives, reducing healthcare costs and generating revenue. This new tax rate will go into effect on January 1st 2024.