FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 3, 2018)—The state excise tax on a pack of cigarettes in Kentucky will rise from 60 cents to $1.10 on July 1, following a campaign by the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow that launched in October 2017.
The Coalition had sought a $1 per pack increase to reduce smoking, particularly among youth and pregnant women in Kentucky. While the 50-cent increase will not achieve the significant health benefits the Coalition had sought, leadership in the state legislature said that it was the largest increase they could get enough votes to pass this year. The last time the legislature raised the cigarette tax was in 2009, when it rose from 30 cents to 60 cents per pack. The revenue measure was a companion to the first budget passed by a Republican-led legislature in a century in Kentucky.
Significant cigarette tax increases have been shown in multiple communities across the nation to reduce smoking rates, particularly among those younger than 18, women who are expecting, and those living on low incomes. The smoking rates among these populations in Kentucky remain significantly higher than the national rates; they’re also higher than the rates in states with cigarette taxes at or above the national average of $1.72 per pack.
The Coalition said, moving forward, it would continue to advocate for additional, effective tobacco-control policies at both the state and local levels.