State lawmakers push to increase taxes on cigarettes, e-cigs | KOB 4
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State lawmakers push to increase taxes on cigarettes, e-cigs

Megan Abundis
January 18, 2019 07:33 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – 2019 could bring a new tax hike for New Mexico smokers. State lawmakers are looking to push bills through the Senate that involve raising the taxes on cigarettes.

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Sen. Clemente Sanchez (D) District 30, is pushing a bill (SB-166) that would increase the tax on cigarettes and vape juice for e-cigarettes.

"It's basically increasing the tax on a box of cigarettes from $1.66 to $2.00," Sen. Sanchez said.

However, his bill would also raise the tax on vape liquid, something that has become increasingly popular among the younger generations.

"Initially it was cigarettes," said Christopher Montano. "I smoked cigarettes for two years, now it's mostly vape."

20-year-old Christopher Montano said he switched to try and kick the addiction, one factor is the price.

"Probably about $50 a week on cigs," he said. "Now I'm paying $25 maybe in two weeks."

With this bill, an additional 5 cent tax per milliliter of vape liquid would be added. That would cost vapers about an extra $12.50 on 250 milliliters.

The proposed tax would also increase the tax to $2.00 on the little rolling cigars too.

"I'm estimating this would raise an additional $15 million in revenue to the state," Sen. Sanchez said.

But will this tax hike get Montano and others to stop buying the nicotine?

"Probably not," Montano said. "I really feel like alcohol does more damage than vaping does."

Sanchez said that the bill's purpose is not to push people to quit smoking. 

"I'm not trying to stop people from smoking," Sen. Sanchez said. "Because an increase from 34 cents isn't going to stop people from smoking. They have the right to smoke if they want to."

Each cigarette pack usually holds between 20-25 sticks. So you could be paying an extra ten cents on each cigarette, costing you $2 more on a pack.

"The last time tax was increased on cigarettes was in 2010 and it was 75 cents a pack," Sen. Sanchez said.

But how do we stand compared to others states cigarette tax?

According to 2018 data, New Mexico cigarette tax rates rank in the middle of the country.

2018 Cigarette Tax:

NY-$4.35

CA-$2.87

AZ-$2.00

NM-$1.66

TX-$1.41

MO- $0.17

Sen. Sanchez said the extra tax dollars will put money into the state’s general fund.

Another bill from Sen. Cisco McSorley (D) District 16, (SB-72) calls for more than a $3 increase per cigarette package. These bills are working their way through the legislature. If one of them passes it would go into effect July 1st.

Track SB-166 and SB-72 during the Legislative session

Credits

Megan Abundis

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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