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Written by Puff Staff

Monday, 04 April 2011

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industry updatestobacco legislation


Nevada hopes to target smokers in an effort to increase revenue

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Smokers in Nevada could soon find themselves paying more for their favorite tobacco products. That is, of course, if the newly introduced Senate Bill 386 gets approved. According to the Las Vegas Sun, Senate Bill 386 would increase the state tax on pack of cigarettes from 80 cents to $2. Fans of cigars and chewing tobacco would not be spared, as the bill would double their tax rates. Individual taxes on cigars and chewing tobacco would vary, as they are taxed on a percentage of their price.

As for the reasons behind the bill, the usual suspects are being presented – health concerns and tax revenue. Amy Beaulieu, director of the American Lung Association in Nevada, stated, “This is more than a tax. We're trying to save people's lives.” Beaulieu said that the tax increase not only aims to protect children from the temptations to begin smoking, but also would encourage adults to stop smoking. Regarding the potential financial gains from the increased taxes, Beaulieu predicted that 2012 would show an additional $85 million in revenue for the state and $350 million would be gained over five years. The revenue would be divided between state and local governments, with a portion used to finance tobacco prevention programs.

Additional support for Senate Bill 386 comes from the results of a poll in which 800 registered Nevada voters were surveyed. Approximately 73 percent said they believed the bill would help patch the state's financial troubles. Although the bill may seem solid in theory, other states have shown that dramatic increases on tobacco products do not work as a deterrent or a financial savior. With any luck, cigar fans in the state of Nevada will not have to experience the negative effects of higher taxes.

A hearing on Senate Bill 386 is scheduled for April 5.






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