Daley, Frankel legislation calls for tax increase on cigarettes, other tobacco products

HARRISBURG, May 21 – State Reps. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, and Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, recently introduced legislation that would both help enhance public health and generate revenue in the commonwealth.

House Bill 1213 would increase the cigarette tax by $1 per pack and impose a 40 percent tax on the wholesale price of other tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipes, “roll-your-own” tobacco and smokeless tobacco.

Daley said imposing these taxes could help deter young people from using cigarettes and OTPs.

“Many teens succumb to peer pressure by using tobacco products and end up becoming life-time users,” Daley said. “What’s troubling is there are now alternative products, such as e-cigarettes, that are growing in popularity and have the same addicting effects as regular cigarettes.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a quarter of a million young people who had never smoked a cigarette used e-cigarettes in 2013.” 

Frankel said Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that does not impose some type of tax on smokeless tobacco and one of two states that does not tax cigars.

“It’s time that Pennsylvania joins every other state in the nation in levying a fair tax on these kinds of tobacco products,” Frankel said. “We’re faced with a $2 billion structural budget deficit and we cannot continue to overlook reasonable revenue streams such as an OTP tax that could generate significant funds for the Commonwealth.”

Both Frankel and Daley said their legislation is part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s overall budget proposal.