Colorado: By 61 percent to 39 percent, voters increased the state cigarette tax by 64 cents to 84 cents per pack and dedicated some of the new revenue to fund tobacco prevention programs, with the rest earmarked for other health-related programs.
Montana: By 65 percent to 35 percent, voters increased the state cigarette tax by $1 to $1.70 per pack and dedicated some of the revenue to health care programs. The measure also increased the tax on other tobacco products.
Oklahoma: By 53 percent to 47 percent, voters increased the state cigarette tax by 80 cents to $1.03 per pack, as well as taxes on other tobacco products. The revenue will fund various health-related programs. The Oklahoma victory came despite the fact that proponents of the initiative were outspent by opponents, funded largely by Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds, who spent almost $2 million in an attempt to defeat the initiative.
Voters also passed or upheld smoke-free workplace laws in communities across the country, including Lincoln, Nebraska; Fargo and West Fargo, North Dakota; Columbus, Ohio; Wauseon, Ohio; Copperas Cove, Texas; and Winooski, Vermont. Voters also approved an advisory referendum in Wausau, Wisconsin, in support of making restaurants smoke-free.
Voters across the nation, in communities large and small, have expressed their strong preference for protecting our kids and health, not the special interests of the tobacco industry, said William V. Corr, Executive Director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Elected officials at all levels should heed the message of the voters, free themselves from the campaign contributions and political influence of the tobacco industry, and support proven measures to reduce tobacco use and protect everyones right to breathe clean, smoke-free air.
The Colorado, Montana and Oklahoma tobacco tax increases bring to 38 the number of states that have increased tobacco taxes since January 1, 2002, along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. These actions have increased the average state cigarette tax from 43.4 cents to 84 cents per pack.