Cigars on the Ballot

Election Day is about more than just the candidates. This year, cigar-related measures are on the ballot in four states. Voters in California, Colorado, North Dakota, and Missouri will decide whether their states should increase cigar taxes.

  • California’s Proposition 56 would raise the state’s tobacco tax from 27.3% to 69.2%
  • Colorado’s Amendment 72 would raise tobacco taxes there from 40% of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) to 62%
  • North Dakota’s Inititated Statutory Measure 4 would raise the tobacco MSRP from 28% to 56%

Missouri has two tobacco-related measures on the ballot. Amendment 3 is focused on cigarettes. If passed, per-pack cigarette taxes would gradually increase every year through 2020, totaling 60 cents per pack by that date. If passed, the state’s Proposition A would raise cigar taxes by 15%.

Cash-strapped states and municipalities have every right to seek revenue streams wherever possible. It is more than surprising, however, that other ‘vices’ such as alcohol and (in Colorado) marijuana are not being subject to similar tax hike proposals. You simply cannot have it both ways: putting some substances on a pedestal while continually demonizing tobacco.

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