Oregon’s Cigar Tax Cap Increases Today

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Cigars in Oregon will be getting a bit more expensive today, as a tax increase approved by voters in November has gone into effect.

The increase comes by way of a change to the cap on cigar taxes in the state; previously, it had been 50 cents per cigar, as of today it is $1 per cigar. 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.

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While cigar smokers certainly won’t like the increase, it beats the original proposal to remove the cap completely. Had that version gone to voters and been passed, that same cigar with an MSRP of $9.50 would have increased to $15.68, by halfwheel estimates, as it would be subject to the full tax rate of 65 percent of the wholesale price. That proposal was defeated thanks to an amendment made by Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton.

In addition to the increase in the cigar tax cap, the law passed by voters requires 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.

Cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vaping products will see an even more substantial increase. The tax on cigarettes has gone up by $2 per pack, an increase from $1.33 to $3.33 per pack of 20. E-cigarettes and other nicotine vaping products are now defined as tobacco products, which subjects them to the state’s tax rate of 65 percent on those products.

Retailers are also facing 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.

The ballot item, Measure 108, was approved by 66.3 percent of voters.

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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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