Monday, May 17, 2021
May 17, 2021

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Oregon voters enact big hike in cigarette, vape taxes


Oregon nicotine users will face steeper costs for their products of choice starting Jan. 1, after Oregonians voted Tuesday to set higher cigarette, vape and cigar taxes.

Besides funneling smokers’ money into state coffers and prompting what is likely to be a decline in smoking rates, Measure 108 will make Oregon’s cigarette tax — $3.33 a pack — the sixth-highest in the nation and give the state the highest cigarette taxes outside the Northeast.

A pack of smokes will cost $2 more, and vaping products will, for the first time, have a tax of their own — 65 percent of the wholesale price. The measure also raises the cap on cigar taxes to $1.

Oregon voters overwhelmingly favored the new taxes, which were heavily promoted in TV ads and elsewhere. Partial returns as of 8 p.m. Tuesday show a 70.4 percent yes vote.

Oregon could haul in about $166 million per year in new taxes, most of that cash coming through the cigarette tax. After the nominal cost of managing the tax, 90 percent of the money will go to the state’s health care plan for the poor — called the Oregon Health Plan — and the rest will go to programs for helping people quit tobacco.

Measure 107, a state constitutional amendment to make clear that future campaign contribution limits and political ad disclosure laws are legal, also was passing as of 8:05 p.m. Tuesday with 81.1 percent of the vote.