Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR), Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-D-08) and seven other Senate Democrats have introduced the bicameral Tobacco Tax Equity Act of 2021, which would establish a federal e-cigarette tax and increase the tobacco tax rate for the first time in a decade.
“Tobacco-related disease accounts for one out of every five deaths in America, and I know that story firsthand,” said Durbin. “Data shows that the most effective strategy to prevent children from starting this deadly habit is to price it out of their range. This bill would help reduce tobacco and e-cigarette use by ending loopholes that the industry has exploited to target our children. If America can kick its nicotine addiction it would go a long way to improving our public health for generations to come.”
Joining Durbin and Wyden in introducing the bill in the Senate includes U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI).
The Tobacco Tax Equity Act of 2021 aims to “close tax code loopholes for tobacco products by increasing the federal tax rate on cigarettes, pegging it to inflation to ensure it remains an effective public health tool, and setting the federal tax rate for all other tobacco products at this same level.”
“Loopholes in our tax code continue to favor big tobacco while the American public, especially our youth, pays the price,” said Krishnamoorthi. “The Tobacco Tax Equity Act increases taxes on cigarettes and finally imposes taxes on the e-cigarettes hooking our children on nicotine, which would generate billions of dollars in federal revenue. As a father of a high schooler and middle schooler, I’m determined to make sure we end the youth nicotine and vaping epidemic.”
The Tobacco Tax Equity Act of 2021 is endorsed by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Academy of Pediatrics American Lung Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Public Health Association, National Association of County and City Health Officials, Trust for America’s Health and American Thoracic Society.