Oregon Voters Approve Cigar Tax Increase

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Just as they will be doing in Colorado, cigars in Oregon will be getting more expensive as voters have approved a ballot measure that will double the tax cap on cigars from 50 cents to $1 per cigar as of Jan. 1, 2021.

The measure’s passage was called by both The Oregonian and Oregon Public Broadcasting on Tuesday evening, with the former making the call with 70.4 percent of voters approving it as of 8 p.m. local time, while the latter’s most recent report, along with the Associated Press, showed a 66.75 percent approval.

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In practical terms, a cigar with an MSRP of $9.50 will jump from $10.50 at the register to $11.50, by halfwheel estimates. Additionally, it would require that all cigars sold individually in the state have a minimum wholesale price of $3, unless they are sold in a package of four that has a minimum wholesale price of $12.

The increase is smaller than had been originally proposed, as the original version of the bill removed the cap completely. Had that version gone to voters, that same cigar with an MSRP of $9.50 would increase to $15.68, by halfwheel estimates, as it would be subject to the full tax rate of 65 percent of the wholesale price. That change came thanks to an amendment made by Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton.

While the tax on cigars will double, cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vaping products will see an even more substantial increase. Under the new law, cigarettes will get a $2-per-pack increase in the tax, going from $1.33 to $3.33 per pack of 20, as well as defining e-cigarettes and other nicotine vaping products as tobacco products in order to impose the state’s tax rate of 65 percent on those products.

Retailers will also be hit with a floor tax of 10 cents for each cigarette in their possession or under the control of the dealer as of 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2021.

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About the author

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.

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