A substantial tax increase could soon be hitting tobacco users in West Virginia as the state’s House of Delegates revisits a proposal that would impose an excise tax of 50 percent of the wholesale price on cigars and other tobacco products. Currently, the rate is just seven percent of the wholesale price.

The proposal is being led by Del. Don Perdue (D-Wayne, 19) as part of an attempt to raise money to fund state healthcare programs, for which Perdue says the increase in tax could generate upwards of $90 million per year. It isn’t the first time such a measure has been circulated, with several attempts being made in the past decade, and support remains uncertain this year, though Perdue told WVMetroNews.com that he thinks that interest is “very high and getting higher.”

The proposal would also raise the tax on cigarettes by one dollar per pack to $1.55.

House Bill 4191 is scheduled to be heard in the House Health and Human Resource Committee, which is led by Perdue, on Wednesday afternoon.

Perdue is also said to be looking at raising the state tax on alcohol via a separate bill.

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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.