Cigarette prices will only keep going up

What's with the new county tax on tobacco products? Cigarettes have gone up over $1.50 a carton.

— Hard G., Medford

No new county taxes, Mr. G.

Yet.

As far as Oregon goes, taxes are a combined $2.19 per pack — $1.01 from the state and $1.18 from the feds.

And that $1.18-per-pack state rate hasn't changed in a while.

"(It's) up to individual retailers to determine the final market price, but the state tax of $1.18 has not changed in the past five or six years," said Derrick Gasperini, communications manager for the Oregon Department of Revenue.

A few proposals being kicked around could drive that rate up further. Oregon HB 2456 would add an additional 10 cents per pack, and HB 2870 would remove the prohibition of taxes by Oregon counties on tobacco products, according to data supplied by Gasperini. It passed in the Oregon House back in April and is still under consideration in the Senate.

"It still could happen," Gasperini said.

In addition, the Obama administration has been pushing to almost double the rate on cigarette taxes, pushing the federal cigarette tax up to $1.95 a pack. That's on top of the federal increase from 39 cents a pack up to $1.01 back in 2009, according to the Tax Foundation website.

Essentially, smoking could be getting more expensive very soon. Again.


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