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Cigarette Sales Tax Increased

Washington State Voters Pass Tax Increase on Tobacco

Olympia, WA -- November 7, 2001 -- Washington state voters have passed a measure, Initiative 773, that increases the sales tax on cigarettes and imposes a surtax on wholesale tobacco products. The proceeds from the tax will be used for the prevention of tobacco use and for programs that improve the health care of low-income persons. The additional sales tax is 3 cents per cigarette; the tax on the wholesale price of tobacco products (not including cigarettes) is 54.515625% of the wholesale sales price.

The initiative was endorsed by the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association of Washington, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The authors listed on the ballot opposition argument against Initiative 773 included former legislators and two grocers' associations. However, the true author behind the opposition campaign was Brendan McCormick, according to detective work done by an alert Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist. Not surprisingly, Brendan McCormick is a Philip Morris spokesman.

Various studies have shown that raising tobacco taxes can be an effective tool in reducing smoking by both youths and adults (see Higher Cigarette Taxes Reduce Smoking, Save Lives, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids). This is a good reason for Philip Morris and other cigarette manufacturers to oppose tobacco tax increases.

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