1. Raise tobacco taxes by $1.00 or more per pack;
2. Increase funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs; and
3. Pass state and/or local smokefree workplace laws.
The American Lung Association in Wyoming supports raising tobacco taxes as evidence shows making tobacco products more expensive is one of the best ways to delay initiation of tobacco use as well as encouraging current users to quit using tobacco.
The Wyoming House Revenue committee introduced House Bill 73 to tax electronic cigarettes. The American Lung Association urged a tax rate creating parity with other tobacco products, with a portion of the new revenue for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. The legislation passed both houses and was signed into law by Governor Gordon on March 10, 2020. The law levies a 15% excise tax on the wholesale purchase price of electronic cigarettes and went into effect on July 1, 2020.
Representative Sara Burlingame introduced House Bill 205 proposing raising taxes on all nicotine products, but this bill failed an introductory vote in the House (28 – 32). The legislation would have increased the cigarette tax from the current $0.60 per pack to $2.00.
Elected officials in Jackson, Wyoming considered restricting the sale of flavored vaping products in April 2020. The American Lung Association and other stakeholders encouraged the council to consider a comprehensive approach by prohibiting the sale of all flavored tobacco products. After the first reading, an amendment was offered to exempt menthol flavors. The council later also agreed to an age-restricted store exemption for the proposal.
The Lung Association strongly supports comprehensive flavor prohibitions at all places where products are sold and encouraged the council to include retail licensure in its policy. The council decided to take no further action on the ordinance given the state of Wyoming already prohibits the sale of all tobacco products to those under the age of 21.
Wyoming's cigarette tax remains one of the lowest in the nation at $0.60 per pack. The American Lung Association in Wyoming will continue working with partners to support increases in tobacco taxes and additional appropriations for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. The Lung Association will continue its support for local ordinances for smokefree workplaces and flavored tobacco restrictions.
Economic Cost Due to Smoking: $257,674,019
Adult Smoking Rate: 18.4%
High School Smoking Rate: 10.8%
High School Tobacco Use Rate: 38.4%
Middle School Smoking Rate: 2.4%
Smoking Attributable Deaths per Year: 800
Adult smoking data come from CDC's 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. High school and middle school smoking rates are taken from the 2018 Wyoming Prevention Needs Assessment Survey. High school tobacco use rate is taken from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System.