Utah Tobacco Tax Hike Leads to Decreased Cigarette Sales
Since Utah increased its tobacco tax last year from 69.5 cents per pack to $1.70, cigarette sales have dropped 15 percent. State Tax Commission data suggests that at the current rate, between 11 million and 12 million fewer cigarette packs will be sold this year compared with last year, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
Revenue from the tax has doubled compared with the year before, the newspaper reports. Proponents of the new tax estimated about 13,000 people would quit smoking after the tax was raised. New figures indicate, however, the number is much higher—about 19,000 one-pack-a-day smokers have quit.
Calls to the state-run tobacco quit line have increased by more than 150 percent since the tax increase was instituted, according to Rep. Paul Ray, who sponsored the tax hike.