A sizable new tobacco tax increase proposal in Ketchikan, Alaska gained a good bit of traction on Monday night, as the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly voted 4-3 to instruct city staff to draft an ordinance for consideration later this year.

The proposal being considered would impose a new tax on tobacco products at 75% of the wholesale price, while cigarettes would be taxed at $3 per pack. Alaska Public Media reports that the increase would generate $1.2 million in annual revenue, 15% of which would go towards tobacco cessation programs and the rest split between the City of Ketchikan and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough.

The financial aspect of the proposal was a point of contention for the assembly as some saw it as a money grab while others saw it as a way to decrease tobacco usage through raising the cost.

Ketchikan is the southeasternmost city in Alaska and has a population of just over 8,200 people, while the borough has approximately 13,500 residents.


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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.