Filed under: Cigars
The City of Boston just can't seem to make up its mind. Back in December, officials were mulling an absolute smoking ban that likely would have led to the closure of several cigar-related businesses (such as Cigar Masters on Boylston St.). Now, the city sees tobacco as a way to bring some new cash into ol' Beantown's coffers – up to $13 million annually, actually. The tax increase would cover loose tobacco, small cigars and smokeless tobacco.
Having tapped the cigarette well dry with a recent tax increase from $1 a pack to $2.51 last July, the lawmakers have had to hunt elsewhere. Officials, with bizarre logic, believe that the cigarette tax has led price-sensitive teenagers to consume other forms of tobacco. Yet, there has been no report of an outbreak hoodlums smoking White Owls at Copley.
While this measure does not affect the luxury cigar market directly, the underlying thinking may signal future legislative ambition. Cigarettes, long the preferred tobacco product to tax, will eventually lose their value as a source of tax revenue, particularly if they are taxed out of existence. While the stated ambition of the proposed Massachusetts measure is to price tobacco out of the reach of minors, it also suggests that alternative sources of tobacco tax may be necessary.
We've seen this thinking in action with the SCHIP. The states may follow.
Worried about the future of your right to enjoy cigars? Join the Cigar Rights of America.