Hike in cigarette tax prompts Congressional PACT Act

No one is talking about the new legislation that was introduced in Congress to enforce the collection of the–now huge–federal excise tax on cigarettes. It’s called the “Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act of 2009” or PACT Act.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five adults in this country smoke. The financial stakes are high and the PACT Act will help capture Federal, State, and local excise tax revenue if enacted.

The158 percent federal excise tax increase on cigarettes that will go into effect this Wednesday, April 1, was enacted to help subsidize the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan (SCHIP) that was signed into law in February.

Currently the federal tax is 39 cents and will rise to a whopping $1.01. Depending on which state a smoker resides there are additional local taxes tacked onto each pack of cigarettes. The New York cigarette tax is the highest at $2.75, while South Carolina has a 7-cent excise tax. View your state here.

On March 23, 2009, a Bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Anthony D. Weiner of New York, which was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

HR 1676 would prevent tobacco smuggling and ensure the collection of all tobacco taxes.

With a few exceptions, all cigarettes and smokeless tobacco would be deemed non-mailable and would not be deposited in or carried through the United States Postal Service mails. Currently FedEx, UPS and DHL have voluntarily agreed not to ship cigarettes. View postal press release regarding new rules here.

Failing to comply with state tax laws by any seller making a sale via telephone, the mail, or the Internet would be a federal offense.

Age verification, package labeling and inspection authority would be imposed.

Democratic Congressman Anthony D. Weiner of New York, born 1964, has been in the House of Representatives since 1999. Congressman Weiner was elected to the New York City Council in 1991 where he spent the next seven years.



15 Responses to Hike in cigarette tax prompts Congressional PACT Act

  1. ricky alexander says:

    h.r. 1676 is a joke. the government needs to quit trying to control peoples lifes and unfairly taxing people for lifestyles they deem sinful. the bill should be vehemently opposed by those who care about letting people have their own choices and options in purchasing cigarettes etc. the government needs to stop trying to control and tax smokers because they do not like their habits and lifestyle. it is un-american.

  2. willnevergiveup says:

    Smokers are 20% of the voting block. That’s a huge voice in America if utilized. Additionally, second hand smoke trails behind radon in cancer deaths. According to EPA estimates, 3,000 deaths are caused by second hand smoke annually compared to 21,000 deaths from radon. You can see the write-up here: https://willnevergiveup.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/radon/

  3. Tired of Being Taxed says:

    The government is not taxing people to help childrens’ health or to stop people from smoking. It is obvious that the government knows how to increase revenues – tax peoples’ addictions. This makes the government a pimp and those who smoke are prostitutes. How many people die each year from breathing in all the carbon monoxide from automobiles, buses and airplanes. However, non-smokers don’t insist on doing away these modes of transporation because they need them. Therefore, they are willing to put up with it and are a bunch of hypocrits. It is time that people of one group stop controlling the lives of others. Is Obama smoking in the White House and “contaminating” its treasures that belong to all Americans? I’m sure he is and no one is legislating what he is doing.

  4. willnevergiveup says:


    You’ve raised some interesting points.

    I now know that I am not alone when I silently question the pollution levels in the city I live in — which is the FIFTH largest city in the country. I seriously doubt the breathing problems are from second hand smoke.

    On a recent airline trip, as we were ascending from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport I turned to a fellow passenger and commented how absurd it is to outlaw smoking in public places while gesturing out the window to view the smog that obscured the view of the city.

  5. Interesting health information, definitely something I can use. Thanks.

  6. Sick Of Our Greedy Goverment says:

    Tired of being taxed is correct. The government has just found a way to gain more revenue without taxing those that could afford it better. In other words, big businesses that have their hand in the pockets of our American politicians. Cigarette taxes are politically correct, it is something they have been able to tax without raising the ire of all Americans. They are just now starting to talk about increasing taxes on alcohol. Which in most states, alcohol taxes have not increased in decades and their value has dwindled with inflation. Dormant tax rates have also contributed to a gradual and substantial decline in the price of alcoholic beverages. The tax on a case of beer is approximatly .33. Yet millions die from alcohol related deaths. Next on the list will be sugary soft drinks for contributing to obesity. But wait that means pies and cakes and candy and BOY is this list going to get long. Honestly thought the drinks are on the target list, the rest is just to point out the absurdity of the reasoning.
    What is next….Taxing the air we breathe. And as for voting we are given our choice of greedy and/or corrupt. The best we can do is pick the lesser of the two evils. We have had no honest choices in years

  7. smoking gun says:

    The PACT ACT will force honest businesses to close and layoff Western New Yorkers. Currently there are regulations that make online cigarette sellers accountable (age verification software, adult signature required for delivery, licensed wholesalers to sell to the retailers etc). 90% of the customers are over 60 years of age and on a fixed income.

    The governments policy of relentless taxation on smokers has created The Market (or demand). Unless state taxes on cigs decrease, the demand will always be there for cheaper smokes.

    If the PACT ACT is enacted legitimate businesses will close and shady organizations (ie organized crime) will profit from the continued demand.

    Way to go US Government!

  8. Jay says:

    Government at its best. Stealing more money from the working and broke classes. The rich get richer and we can all crawl under rock and die..Great to be alive in thse exciting time.

  9. bob says:

    It’s not just about money. It’s also about ego- deficiencies, self-righteousness, and the need to control others’ lives. That “follow-the-money” conventional wisdom misses some very important moral and psychological corruptions in the ways that public officials carry out (or fail to carry out) their responsibilities. This is the freaking USA, for crying out loud, founded by crusaders for individual self-determination, and now we’re gagging on control freaks. From those idiots who paint arrows all over intersections to eliminate the exercise of driver judgment, to Nancy Pelosi, it’s an age of intolerance of anyone with an independent spirit. From humans-as-meat-machines neuroscience theorists to social “scientists” who want to reduce the human condition to an accumulation of passive victimizations of external causes, conventional wisdom is working overtime to convince people to be good little cogs in the machine and not to entertain the “myth” that they have any real freedom other than the allegedly “constitutional” right to rut like beasts without consequence.

  10. johnypaycut says:

    In 1967 i joined the Marines to defend my country and it’s liberty, now i find my self wishing i had become
    a communist. to you slimedriven buttholes in washington
    and ny? you’v been making very poor choices. taxing poor
    people is going to be your undoing. you’v angered many
    people with your sick attempts to tax,more and more.

  11. Cheryl says:

    If smoke is so bad, why not tax bonfires and outdoor grilling? Geez, maybe indoor candles. The government could make allot of money.

  12. kfish says:

    PACT ACT: Cigarettes have and are taxed enough. The federal Gov. gets over $200 million a year from the seneca india group alone based in western NY.. not to mention the mohawks, etc… I think that as a consumer of tobacco products and over the age of 21 (i am 51) and that I should have the right to purchase cigarettes from any state that I choose, where I may be able to get the best price on the product I use. I beleive that use of this bill should be used to restrict sales being used for export and export from the United States only. Making it illeagal to ship cigarettes in the us. mail is only going to make it crimimalized and cause smokers that are able to travel to go out and to get them. As a handicapped person this really puts a burden on me with traveling as well as the elderly smokers . My mom is a senior smoker and I dont think it’s fair that she or I should have to drive to get cigarrettes in our condition and burn gas that is not necessary. ny state is getting enough money out of us smokers.

  13. William Doyle says:

    The PACT Act will be like a death sentence to those of us who have quit smoking by using Snus and Nasal Snuff when all other methods have failed. These products are not available at local retail outlets, even in major metropolitan areas, and can currently only be purchased online. By illegalizing online sales, the Federal Government would be saying “We’d prefer you go back to smoking, and to ensure that you do, we’re going to outlaw the distribution of a whole class of tobacco products that are much less harmful than cigarettes to the user and those around them.” Every time a new law is passed, I’m worse off than I was before. Please stop before you “protect” all of us to death.

  14. bill says:

    i just have one question,will washington every stop..
    is this every going to be a free country every again.
    the elected people in washington should realize that the working man elected them,and that is why they are were they are today, because we put i trust in them to serve and uphold the american way………….

  15. David Oliver says:

    It was bad enough and just plain discriminatory to hike taxes on cigarettes far beyond any other product. However, the PACT act has gone beyond being merely unfair, it is a tax on poor people. The wealthy are certainly not going to buy loose tobacco and “roll their own.” Is it not hypocritical of the Democrats who have traditionally championed the poor to be the chief proponents of this bill?

    It is sad that the lower echelon income people in this country have nothing but a dilemma when it comes to voting – either the Democrats who are going to force a politically correct life on us or the Republicans who will allow big business to dictate our lives. For me, I’m going with whoever votes against anti-smoking legislation.

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