The American Lung Association would like New Hampshire legislators to increase the state’s tobacco tax by $1.00/pack. It is their opinion that this will reduce youth smoking and…they’d be more inclined to give us better grades.
The Lung Association gave the Granite State some of the lowest rankings in the Northeast in categories dealing with the cigarette tax, spending on tobacco prevention, smoke-free air and cessation programs.
It also noted that New Hampshire has the highest youth smoking rate in the region — 19.8 percent compared to 12.5 percent nationally — and that no state tax dollars are spent on programs to discourage smoking.
Is the lung association prepared to compensate us for the 20% loss in sales revenue and secondary commerce to neighboring states as a result because the last time I checked, regardless of what the American Lung Association has to say about their special interest issue, New Hampshire is still consistently one of the top three healthiest states in the nation, year after year.
Oh, and then there’s this inconvenient truth…
According to American Lung Associations own publications there has been absolutely no change in the middle-school smoking rate in New Hampshire since at least 2006, despite Democrats more than doubling the cigarette tax, taking it from 0.80/pack to 1.78/pack (plus a 65% wholesale price increase passed by Democrats in 2010).
The Lung Association’s reports for New Hampshire High School age smokers document the rate in 2006 at 20.5% (rising and falling) to settle in at 20.8% for 2010. That 2010 report by the way, would be the last report reflecting the impact of four years of Democrat rule over the issue of tobacco taxes and policy in New Hampshire as Republicans took over the House and Senate in 2011.
Now New Hampshire Democrats may argue that doubling the tax was simply not enough to make a difference, but that is not entirely true. We we’re definitely losing sales back to neighboring states along with the revenue and business taxes that went with them.
So raising the tax did do some good–if you were looking to increase sales and revenue in Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont. But if you were looking to reduce youth smoking, if the Lung Association’s own report cards can be believed, Middle School smoking remained the same, and High School smoking eventually increased as the tax went up. And yet overall New Hampshire is still consistently one of the healthiest states in the nation.
All tolled that is mighty inconvenient to the people addicted to that particular narrative.
Exit question: We know high taxes on cigarettes create a black market for them–so could raising the tax actually increase youth smoking by making them more available (and cheaper) outside the regulated and policed retail market?
You are reading “Lung Association Says Hike Cigarette Tax $1.00/Pack…for the Children” by Steve Mac Donald originally posted at GraniteGrok.com (Home)
Steve has been recognized as the Americans For Prosperity Blogger of the month for December 2012