Hassan Makes Pitch For Raising Cigarette Tax

Feb 14, 2013

For Hassan, increasing the cigarette tax is both good for public health and the state's bottom line
Credit SuperFantastic / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Maggie Hassan is looking to raise New Hampshire’s cigarette tax.  In her state budget address, she pitched a  30-cent increase as good public health policy.

“New Hampshire has the highest youth smoking rate in the Northeast, with 19.8 percent of high school students who smoke cigarettes," Hassan said.  "Cigarette taxes nationwide have proven to be one of the most effective ways to prevent youth smoking.”

She also said it will raise $40 million in revenue without compromising cross-border sales.

“My budget proposes reversing the cigarette tax cut and increasing the tax by an additional 20 cents. Which will still keep our cigarette tax below those of our surrounding states,” Hassan said to heavy applause.

Republicans cut the cigarette tax by ten-cents in the current state budget.  That cut is set to expire automatically because revenues have fallen short of targets.  If Hassan’s full proposed increase is adopted, New Hampshire’s tax would stand at $1.98 per pack.