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Why New Hampshire Should Raise its Cigarette Tax

 

Tobacco remains the leading preventable cause of death, for heart disease and stroke and other chronic diseases. NH’s last cigarette tax increase was in 2009. Two years later, the state gave in to tobacco industry pressure and decreased its tobacco tax! At the same time, the industry raised its own price on cigarettes, so that while NH lost millions of dollars in tax revenues, Big Tobacco gained millions of dollars in new revenues, and the price of cigarettes did not change. NH’s youth rate of smoking at 13.8% is the highest of all the states in the northeast, while our state excise tax at $1.78 is the lowest. As a matter of fact, of the top 10 states in the nation with the highest tobacco tax rates, 6 are in the northeast! Why are cigarette taxes of interest to the American Heart Association and its partners? Studies have shown that youth use of tobacco decreases 7% when the retail price increases by 10%. NH could have a substantial increase in the tobacco tax and still not reach the Founders Affiliate average state tax rate of $3.00 per pack. We have a long way to go, and its time NH raised its tobacco tax rate to make tobacco product prices high enough to entice smokers to quit and prevent youth from starting. It would save lives by decreasing the number of youth and adults who smoke and who will ultimately pay the highest price from this deadly habit.

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