July 21, 2016 |
The budget-balancing $1-per-pack cigarette tax increase that takes effect Aug. 1 will make Pennsylvania's $2.60 levy the 10th-highest in the nation. New Jersey's $2.70 per pack is ninth. In Philadelphia, the tax will be $4.60 per pack, which includes a $2 surcharge added two years ago to help close a looming School District deficit. The combined state and local tax will make Philadelphia's the third highest among the nation's big cities, after Chicago's $6.16 per pack and New York's $5.85.
June 29, 2016 |
HARRISBURG - There may soon be a budget bill, but there is no budget deal. The proposal that cleared the House Appropriations Committee on Monday night calls for the state to spend about 5 percent more next year than it did under this year's $30 billion budget. The boost in spending would be propped up by legalizing online gambling, loosening the state's monopoly over the sale of wine, imposing new taxes on tobacco, and instituting a tax amnesty program. But neither the GOP-dominated Senate nor the administration of the Democratic governor have committed to support it. Jeff Sheridan, Gov. Wolf's spokesman, said Monday that the governor had not agreed to the plan.
June 20, 2016
ISSUE | SMOKING Protect students As a high school student, I know tobacco companies market their products to me and my friends. Their latest tactic is to target us with products such as cigars and e-cigarettes. They use sweet flavors like gummy bear and watermelon and create slick ads to make these products seem cool. Unfortunately, these tactics are working. A new study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more high school boys in Pennsylvania smoke cigars than smoke cigarettes - 18.2 percent vs. 14.9 percent.
May 27, 2016
ISSUE | PUBLIC HEALTH Let's call a cigarette a cigarette I applaud the Food and Drug Administration's recent ruling to ban e-cigarette sales to minors and require safety reviews for vaping products ("Thank you for not vaping?" May 17). Like traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes contain nicotine, an extremely addictive substance. And e-cigarette products have been found to contain harmful chemicals than can cause respiratory disease. Should we be asking the public to "pick their poison," or should we be educating them that no matter what type of cigarette they smoke, they are putting their health at risk?
May 26, 2016 |
Terron L. Phillips had just bought a pack of cigarettes from an East Camden gas station late last Wednesday and was walking home when a red SUV approached him. Four males, ages 16 to 19, were inside, authorities said. The youngest held a sawed-off shotgun. He stepped out of the car with Raquan Handon, 18, and tried to rob Phillips, investigators said. Phillips, 19, told them he had nothing. Handon searched his pockets, found only the cigarettes, and walked back to the SUV holding them, authorities said.
April 13, 2016
Philadelphia police are seeking three men who snuck into a North Philadelphia warehouse last week and stole 24 cases of cigarettes worth about $64,000, police said Monday. In a video released by police, three men are seen approaching the warehouse on the 100 block of East Hunting Park Avenue with a ladder at about 2:35 a.m. Friday. In the dark, they pried open a rear door, then went inside and stole the loot, police said. They then fled in an unknown direction. A black market in "loosies" and cheaper butts has expanded after the city imposed an additional tax of $2 a pack to help fund schools.
April 8, 2016 |
WITH THE proposed 3-cent-per-ounce sugary-drink tax on the table to fund universal pre-K and a couple of other things, I took a trip back in time to look at the $2-a-pack tax on cigarettes that began in October 2014. There are two questions: First, did it produce the expected revenue? Second, what was the effect on sales? The first was easy to answer, the second less so. I was not a fan of the $2-a-pack tax, and not just because I was a smoker. Acting on principle, I quit smoking after the $2 tax was imposed.
January 4, 2016 |
A few years ago, federal health officials proposed replacing the familiar warning labels on cigarette packs with vivid photos showing tobacco damage, such as rotted teeth and diseased lungs. Tobacco companies cried foul with a 2012 lawsuit, and a federal court agreed the graphic labels did "not convey any warning information at all" and were "unabashed attempts to evoke emotion (and perhaps embarrassment) and browbeat consumers into quitting. " But new research from the University of Pennsylvania and Ohio State University shows those emotional images do indeed turn more people away from smoking.
October 20, 2015
ISSUE | CIGARETTE TAX An effective tool to combat smoking The commentary attacking cigarette taxes ("Cigarette-tax increases are bad for Pa. business," Wednesday) contained several inaccuracies. Studies have shown that cigarette taxes are an effective strategy for decreasing smoking and reducing smoking-related diseases and deaths. Research also shows that higher tobacco prices help to prevent people, particularly youths, from starting to smoke. While it is true that higher taxes lead some smokers to cross state or county lines for lower prices, most of those who continue smoking neither travel out of state nor seek smugglers to buy cigarettes.
July 21, 2015 |
Moments after buying some Advil and bottled water at a Suburban Station newsstand, Serena Starnes realized that she was out of cigarettes. She quickly went back and paid $9.50 for a pack of Newports. Had Starnes been in the suburbs, she would have paid much less because of the city's $2-a-pack tax earmarked for city schools. The extra $2 stings, but at least the money is going to help educate her children, the unemployed barber said. "It's good because it's going toward the schools," the mother of nine said.