Cigar Tax Coming to Pennsylvania?

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SCRANTON -- Lawmakers in Harrisburg are still looking for a way to pay for the new budget. One new source of money being considered is a tax on cigars.

Inside Montage Tobacco on Davis Street in Scranton, the cigar smoke lingers and the shelves are stocked. This is where Mark Brier has sold stogies for 14 years without having to add a cigar tax to the total bill.

Now, state lawmakers are considering taxing cigars in the Commonwealth for the first time, at a 40 percent rate for each cigar.  It's a move that Brier thinks will hurt the business he gets from out-of-state customers.

"I think it's counterproductive to raise the tax because it chases people out of state," Brier said.

Many, if not all, of the places that sell cigars in Pennsylvania have thrived on the fact that there's been no tax on cigars, but do fear if the tax is not implemented this time around, then eventually it will be.

At The Big House cigar outlet on Green Ridge Street, you can enjoy a fine cigar and a drink at the bar. The owner told us over the phone that no cigar tax is one of the big reasons he got into the business.

As for Mark Brier, customers save big here without a tax and he wants to keep it that way.

"Warped Fest is up here right now and I have people coming by asking how many cartons they can buy at one time."

Not to mention that online orders have cut into Brier's cigar business and a new tax may make things worse.

Florida is the only other state without a tax on cigars, and depending on what happens in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania might stay that way for now.

9 comments

  • Belfast Bob

    they found out that meat causes cancer, cell phones cause cancer, enough already. how can you tax a legal product more than the products value??????????? smokers should be able to write off those taxes on their income tax. this is unfair and discriminatory.

  • Chuck

    It’s about time…..besides those things just plain stink. They be taxed based on how offensive they smell. If you don’t like move!

  • Valfreyja

    Funding is a major issue and there’s no getting around a tax increase in this state at this point. But I would argue this is a misplaced attempt to generate money.

    Taxing cigarettes makes sense. They are a huge industry and frankly one we need to go away in a world of socialized health care, in a state who are full of not just smokers, but FAT smokers. However pipe and cigar use are not the same animal. It’s true that they’re not risk free behaviors but they are light years less dangerous mostly because the average cigar/pipe user smokes recreationally and not habitually. They aren’t maintenance junkies like cigarette smokers who are burdening the health care system beyond reason as they selfishly wreck public health. And they don’t typically buy in quantities that would make them good targets for meaningful tax generation.

    This smacks more of social engineering than of hard fiscal responsibility. It’s misplaced and serves to do little more than make this garbage state that much more inhospitable to yet another industry.

  • Taxed out

    Sure, tax cigars. What’s next?? Why don’t we just tax every damn thing?
    We need to get rid of these law makers and all their frivolous spending. Then we can cut taxes!!

  • Sam

    What do the lawmakers care, they dont smoke the same cigars that the common man smokes anyway.
    They smoke Cuban cigars that they have no trouble getting !!

    • Valfreyja

      Of course they can get them easily. So can you. The trade embargo was lifted on Cuban domestic goods and imports on March 15, I believe. And that’s beyond the point. All the good growers moved shop to the Dominican Republic after sanctions hit. Cubans haven’t been Cubans since the early-mid 60s. It took only a few years for renowned producers to get shop set up in DR, where there were no embargos.

      You could have been smoking some of the world’s finest cigars legally this whole time. And the mythological “cubans” are little more than a noob test for cigar smokers who don’t know their hobby at this point. Will it change? Maybe. Depends on if the “cuban” concept is still valuable and if meaningful business can be don’t in Castro’s ruined Cuba. I’m not really sure we’ll see some great homecoming here. Dominican logs are fine.

      • Sam

        I have smoked Dominican cigars, very good too.

        Well since PA. Wants to jump on the cigar tax along with other states that do, it would be nice if PA. Would follow other states that have lower taxes on fuel.

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