An initiative has been filed with the Washington State Secretary of State’s office that would raise tobacco taxes in the Evergreen State in order to fund cancer research, prevention and care.

Currently, the cigar tax in Washington is 95% of the cigar’s taxable sales price, though not to exceed $0.65 per cigar. Under the proposal, the state would not only maintain the current rate but add an additional tax of ten percent of the taxable sales price of cigars.

The additional ten percent tax would also apply to little cigars, moist snuff and all other tobacco products except for cigarettes, which would get an additional five cents per cigarette tax, or one dollar per pack. Currently, cigarettes and little cigars are taxed in Washington state at a rate of $30.25 per carton, while moist snuff is taxed based on the net weight listed by the manufacturer at the rate of $2.526 per single unit of 1.2 ounces or less and at a proportionate rate for larger single units, and all other tobacco products are taxed at an uncapped rate of 95%.

The initiative also contains a provision that would authorize the sale of bonds to fund the newly-created trust fund for cancer research, prevention and care.

Should it make it to the November ballot and be passed by the voters, the changes would go into effect on January 1, 2015, with the exception of the cigarette tax, which would go into effect on July 1, 2015.

The initiative was filed on April 10 by Denise Brennan of the group Unite to Fight Cancer. It has not yet been assigned a number by the Secretary of State’s office. The full text of the initiative can be found here.

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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 previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.