Rep. Timothy Horrigan is sponsoring a 2017 bill that would tax premium cigars at 15% of the wholesale price.
Right now premium cigars are exempt from New Hampshire's tobacco tax. Premium cigars must be made entirely by hand of all natural tobacco leaf, weigh more than 3 pounds per 1,000 cigars, and be kept in a humidor.
Until last year, premium cigars also had to cost at least $2 per cigar.
Supporters of the current tax exemption argue that premium cigars are not addictive like cigarettes, and therefore they shouldn't be taxed like other tobacco products. Hand-crafted premium cigars are in fact an artisan product from small businesses, entirely different from mass-produced cigarettes.
Supporters of Horrigan's bill note that most other states tax premium cigars at some level. Supporters of a premium cigar tax also argue that cigars are still harmful to health, and a tax is justified to deter smokers and help pay for the public health costs of smoking-related cancers.
Rep. Richard Ames is sponsoring an alternative bill that would include premium cigars in the existing tobacco tax, which is 65% of the wholesale price.
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