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Written by Puff Staff

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

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tobacco faqstobacco legislation


The City Council members listened to the CRA’s successful pleas, and granted some exemptions to the proposed policy. Most importantly, cigar lounges and bars will be exempt from the policy. Also exempt are private events, such as galas or fundraisers. Finally, restaurants that double as nightclubs or bars for after-hours crowds will be exempt, as long as all of their patrons are over the age of 18.

Obviously, this newly proposed ordinance will put a damper on the overall smoking experience in the City of Angels. Thanks to the CRA’s efforts, though, many cigar smokers will still be able to light up in some of their favorite hangouts.

Utah legislators contemplate higher taxes on tobacco products

It’s not groundbreaking news when politicians fail to deliver on their promises. Such is the case in Utah, where legislators are currently deciding whether or not they should raise taxes on tobacco products. These proposed tax hikes go against Governor Gary Herbert’s promises of “no new taxes.” Utah’s legislators claim that the new taxes would be the result of studies presented by anti-tobacco groups that show the harmful effects of smoking. Although we all know that smoking is not great for your health, there is little doubt that studies presented by anti-smoking groups could be slanted and even untruthful in certain instances.

At the center of the tobacco industry’s defense is the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association, or IPCPR. The IPCPR, approximately 2,000 members strong, is a non-profit group composed of tobacco store owners, manufacturers, and distributors. IPCPR’s legislative director, Chris McCalla, claims that possible tax hikes not only negate the Governor’s promises, but will also have a negative effect on the state’s economy.

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By raising the state’s taxes on tobacco products, McCalla claims that consumers will find other ways to get their tobacco products at cheaper prices. They can simply go out of state, or go the simple route of ordering the products online. These new methods of acquiring tobacco would lower Utah’s tax revenue previously received from such purchases. McCalla suggests that Utah follow the lead of other states, such as Iowa, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin, where they have successfully instituted flat taxes on each hand-made cigar sold, at a maximum rate of 50 cents each. McCalla contends that a similar flat tax would be more conducive to business than the 35 percent excise tax currently employed by the state of Utah on tobacco products other than cigarettes.

Needless to say, the proposed tax hikes could not only negatively impact Utah’s economy, but also the psyche of voters who could become jaded by more false promises by elected leaders.






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