The Louisiana House Ways & Means committee recently passed House Bill 889 which will increase the tax on tobacco products. Taxes will rise 50% on cigars, 50% on smokeless tobacco, and 50 cents on a pack of cigarettes which also saw a 61-cent increase by Congress earlier this year. Americans for Tax Reform is pointing out that tobacco taxes always fail to achieve their aims. The operative word in that sentence is “aim.”
There are several aims to increasing tobacco taxes. The first aim is generate revenue from an addictive product, which will be accomplished. Tobacco users will have a choice of continuing to use the products, to decrease their use or quit altogether. If they decrease their use or quit altogether it is a win for the state of Louisiana because the health care costs will also be reduced, which is aim number two, whether Louisiana realizes it or not. It appears Americans for Tax Reform is arguing it would rather see people continue to smoke and die than be taxed. Great stand!
According to the American Lung’s Association State of Tobacco Control 2010, Louisiana received an “F” in tobacco prevention and control spending, an “F” in their cigarette tax, and an “F” in cessation programs. In Louisiana’s credit they did score a “B” in smokefree air. Perhaps with these new taxes they can raise the “B” to an “A” and get passing grades in the other areas.
Apparently healthy, non-smoking Louisianian’s are bad business for the state because they can’t be taxed.
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