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What can be expected if Ohio's tobacco taxes increase?
some $8 million would be set aside for cessation programs; cigarette industry warns of smuggling

Karen Kasler
The Senate plan includes a 40-cent increase of the price of cigarettes.
Courtesy of acidpix, flickr
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There’s a chance the final version of the state budget will have an increase in the state’s tobacco tax. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports that tax has gotten a lot of attention, and not just from the usual anti-smoking groups.

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The tobacco tax increase also comes with $8 million for programs to help tobacco users quit. Reem Aly at the Health Policy Institute of Ohio says higher taxes can result in higher quit rates, but the state needs to track those programs carefully.

“It just needs to be a system put in place so that we’re all moving towards the same goal and it’s clear what that goal is,” Aly said.

But Rich Marianos, the senior law enforcement consultant with cigarette manufacturer Reynolds American, says higher tobacco taxes could bring cigarette smuggling to Ohio, and violent crime as well.

“You never know who gets behind this. We’ve been so many different cases of organized crime, Russian organized crime, street gangs, even terrorist organizations," Marianos said. 

The Senate plan includes a 40-cent hike in the per-pack tax on cigarettes, and an increase from 17% to 22.5% on other tobacco products.

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