Iowa’s behind a lot of other states in the amount of tax collected on tobacco, now most have adjourned their legislative sessions for the year. The American Cancer Society reviewed new cigarette taxes passed this year, and spokeswoman Sandra Quilty says others are increasing the cost of smoking but Iowa’s declined. Iowa’s ranked 42nd nationwide, which she says can also be viewed as “eighth from the bottom” in tobacco excise taxes. Quilty says several states increased their tobacco excise tax this year, which she says shows it’s a nationwide trend. Quilty points out Iowa’s 8th-lowest in tobacco taxes even though tobacco isn’t a crop widely grown here. She says if you rule out tobacco-growing states, we’re second or third lowest in taxing smokes. Quilty says the American Cancer Society Iowa Chapter doesn’t push for tax hikes for the benefit of the state’s general fund, but for health reasons. Quilty says “Study after study shows that the number-one way to reduce smoking and preventing our children from beginning this deadly habit is to increase that price point.” A cigarette tax hike was proposed in the legislative session this year but blocked by Republican leaders who opposed any tax increase in the state. Quilty says Iowa hasn’t raised tobacco taxes since the Terry Branstad administration fifteen years ago. “It was in 1991 that we saw our last increase,” she states. Quilty says many years ago Iowa was one of the first states to pass tobacco tax. She says only three states in the nation are spending the recommended amount on tobacco prevention programs, and Iowa’s not one of them.
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