U.S. Senate Seeks Tobacco Tax Increases

Published in Tobacco E-News

By  Thomas A. Briant, Executive Director

Five U.S. Senators have introduced Senate Bill Number 826, which would increase the cigarette tax by $.94 per pack for a new federal rate of $1.95 per pack, and impose tax parity on other tobacco products. This “tax parity” would essentially equalize the federal cigarette tax on other tobacco products such as cigars, pipe tobacco, RYO tobacco, chewing tobacco, moist snuff and snus with the federal the cigarette tax rate.

The five U.S. Senators who have introduced Senate Bill Number 826 include Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.). 

The Senate bill would increase the federal excise tax rates on cigarettes and other tobacco product as follows:

Language in the Senate bill would also tax at a level equivalent to the federal tax on cigarettes on an estimated per use basis any other product that has been determined by the FDA to be a tobacco product based on the agency’s authority under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

This Senate bill would also require tobacco manufacturers to affix a “unique identification marking” to each package of tobacco products before the product is released for sale in the United States. This “unique identification marking” must include a unique serial number or tracking code to allow the product to be tracked and traced by federal authorities. This marking would also need to contain overt security features for public authentication and covert security law features with encrypted identification information. The purpose of the track and trace requirements under the legislation is to curb the illegal trafficking of cigarettes and tobacco products.