Tobacco Tax Equity, Not in the Biden Plan

Today President Biden released his framework for the Build Back Better Act, encouraging mainstream and progressive Democrats to unite in the spirit of cooperation and compromise.  Congress is expected to immediately take up the measure, which omits the Tobacco Tax Equity provisions. 

PCA appreciates the White House consideration of the broad domestic and international concerns associated with Tobacco Tax Equity.  The provision assumes that adults over 21 years of age are incapable of making informed consumer decisions, and seeks to price them out of the market.  It is built on the premise that tobacco products are interchangeable and of equal risk, an assertion that is not supported by the NIH Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health.

Furthermore, the unintended consequences of Tobacco Tax Equity are broad and severe:

  • Overwhelmingly burdening lower-income and minority communities
  • Targeting the cultural heritage of Central American and Middle Eastern communities
  • Threatening the stability of vulnerable regions within DR-CAFTA countries
  • Risking thousands of small businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs
  • Unsustainable revenue projections