HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa.– Today at the State Capitol, the American Lung Association in Pennsylvania is hosting more than 500 lung health advocates from across the state to rally lawmakers to take action and raise the minimum sales age of tobacco products to 21.
Of course, Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States.
According to a 2015 report from the National Academy of Medicine, there are 223,000 deaths nationwide that can be prevented among those born between 2000 and 2019. That includes 50,000 fewer people dying from lung cancer, which is the nation’s leading cancer killer.
Although, the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products in Pennsylvania creates revenue for the government based on the taxes collected when the products are sold.
In Pennsylvania, the cigarette tax is an excise tax on the sale or possession of cigarettes and little cigars in Pennsylvania. Effective August 1, 2016, the state tax rate is $2.60 per pack of 20 cigarettes or little cigars ($0.13 per stick), or $26 per carton of 10 packs.
Additionally, the cost of the retailer was changed from 6 percent to 7 percent. The “Cost of the Retailer” is defined as the basic cost of cigarettes to the retailer plus the cost of doing business by the retailer in excess of the basic cost of cigarettes, this is expressed as a percentage and applied to the basic cost of cigarettes.
Currently, cigarette tax revenue is dedicated to the following funds and General Fund:
- $30.73 million annually to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides health insurance to uninsured children and teens; and
- $20.49 million annually to the Agricultural Conservation Easement Purchase Fund, which helps preserve Pennsylvania farmland.
Our question is, are you in favor of raising the minimum sales age for tobacco products to 21?