After a $0.10 cut two years ago, smokers in New Hampshire will again pay an extra dime in tobacco taxes starting today.
Republicans in the statehouse lowered the tobacco tax in 2011, saying the cut would spur cross-border sales and boost state revenues. But tax receipts have come in $56 million lower in the past two years than the prior biennium.
Lawmakers included an automatic trigger to reset the tax if revenues fell, so today, the tax goes back up to $1.78 per pack.
Some key votes are coming up within a busy House docket: the tobacco tax increase, expected to pass, but at less than the Governor's proposed level; freezing the second phase of the Voter ID law, halting provisions set to take effect this fall that would eliminate some of the current acceptable forms of identification, namely college students' school IDs; a change of the "Stand Your Ground" law, reinstating the requirement that people make an effort to retreat before using deadly force.
Long gone are the days of Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man. (The last television ad for a cigarette, incidentally, aired on January 1, 1971 at 11:59pm, right up to the second an advertising ban took effect.) The tobacco industry faces strict regulation, but the market for E-cigarettes is still an unregulated, wild, wild west with endorsements ranging from Playboy Playmates to Stephen Dorff.