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New measure cuts KY chewing tobacco tax

By: Michelle Heron Email
By: Michelle Heron Email

PERRY COUTNY, Ky. (WYMT) Researchers say Kentucky high school students are among some of the highest in the country when it comes to tobacco use.

That is why health advocates are against a tax cut on chewing tobacco across the Bluegrass.

“We know that the more expensive tobacco products are, the less likely kids are to either start or continue smoking,” Amy Barkley, of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids said.

The move stems from House Bill 361, which passed earlier this year, and changes the way people pay for chewing tobacco from a percentage tax to a unit tax. It will roughly drop from 41 cents to 19 cents per pouch.

Representative Rick Rand says a legislative analysis shows the cut will cost the state more the $425,000 in revenue, but will fix the way Kentucky collects taxes on tobacco.

“The ability to collect the tax on not only chewing tobacco, but other tobacco products, premium cigars and those types of things that we aren’t collecting, it will actually be a new gain revenue,” Rand said.

Rachel Tolson is a clerk at Drew’s Mini Mart and does not think the change will affect teenage usage rates in the state.

“Whether it’s cheaper or not, if they’re getting it, they’re getting it no matter if it’s cheaper or higher,” Tolson said.

The tax on chewing tobacco will change in August.

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