According to a report by The Boston Globe, the Senate of Massachusetts is pressing to increase the tax on flavored cigars, flavored smoking tobacco and flavored “blunt wraps” from 40% to a whopping 210%, in an attempt to reduce youth use of such products.
Massachusetts already holds a 210% tax on smokeless tobacco products; therefore, this new tax proposition is not as out of the ordinary as it may seem.
Antismoking advocates are in favor of the tax hike effort, but large convenience store associations are opposed to the effort. Retailers have been compliant with restricting sales to minors, and a tax increase would be detrimental to smaller businesses. Although the tax may help to decrease youth consumption, it may also decrease adult consumption as well, which would be harmful for business.
The tax increase measure was included in the yearly state budget for the Senate, but it was not in the one from the House. House speaker Robert DeLeo has stated that there should be “no new taxes, whether large or small,” reported The Boston Globe.
There is no guarantee that the measure will become law, but if the tax is passed, Massachusetts will have the highest tax in the country on flavored cigars.