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Obama looks to raise taxes on cigarettes


WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has proposed increasing federal taxes on cigarettes, drawing criticism from tobacco companies and praise from anti-smoking groups.

As part of his proposed budget, Obama proposed raising the tax on cigarettes by 94 cents per pack, with similar increases on other tobacco products. The current tax is $1.01 per pack.

Published reports quoted spokespeople for tobacco companies like Reynolds American and Altria Group as saying the proposed tax increase was unfair because it would target low- to middle-income consumers. Still, according to the Office of Management and Budget, the proposed increase would raise $78.1 billion in federal revenue over the next decade for early childhood education, and a study by the Congressional Budget Office found that increasing tobacco taxes by 50 cents would prompt nearly 1.4 million adult smokers to quit by 2021.

"We urge Congress to support this proposal, which would have as great an impact in reducing tobacco use among kids as any action the federal government has taken," Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids president Matthew Myers said.

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