A bill in the State House that would aid in closing the budget gap could apply taxes to smokeless tobacco products and cigars. State Representative Dan Frankel says he’s proposed this legislation for several sessions, but the money that would be generated from the tax is more imperative than ever.
Frankel says smokeless tobacco products and cigars are no different from cigarettes as far as risk goes, so that shouldn’t be treated differently either.
“I’m proposing a tax that would be comparable to the tax on cigarettes, which would be about 59.7 percent of the wholesale value,” he says.
That tax applied to those products would give the state between $70 to $80 million in revenue annually.
But he’s says it’s more than just generating revenue. Frankel says a tax would deter tobacco users from buying the products, especially young people. According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Pennsylvania’s rate of 16- to 25-year-olds using non-cigarette tobacco is twice the national average.