Hawaii State Tax on Tobacco Products Increases 70 Percent

For Hawaii residents, the price of tobacco continues to rise. Starting on September 30 the state’s wholesale tax on Other Tobacco Products (OTPs) such as chewing tobacco and pipe tobacco will significantly increase from 40 percent to 70 percent. Additionally, the tax on the wholesale price of cigars will rise from 40 percent to 50 percent, while the tax on smaller cigars will be taxed like cigarettes.

“For a typical tobacco user, it can cost approximately $2,555 a year to continue to support their nicotine addiction. In this economy those dollars could be better applied to family and household needs,” said Julian Lipsher, program manager for the Department of Health’s Tobacco Control Section.

“Tobacco products are more expensive than ever before, which makes it a perfect time to quit,” said Valerie Smalley, Hawaii Tobacco Quitline, Quit Coach. “For those who are thinking about or would like to learn more about quitting, the Hawaii Tobacco Quitline is a free, confidential resource, with qualified and trained Quit Coaches who are available to help guide users through the quitting process.”

The Hawaii Tobacco Quitline recently released two new public service announcements that tout the message “imagine your life free from tobacco.” The campaign seeks to empower tobacco users to quit by encouraging them take their health within their own control.

For residents who are considering quitting, the Hawaii Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) provides over-the-phone assistance and free nicotine patches or gum, while supplies last, for eligible tobacco users who are uninsured, and assists those with coverage to work with their insurance company or community resources to receive free or reduced-cost nicotine replacement therapy. Hawaii Tobacco Quitline hours are from Monday to Sunday, 3 a.m. 9 p.m. Non-smokers can also call the Quitline to get help for a loved one.

The Hawaii Tobacco Quitline’s website www.quitnowhawaii.org offers an extensive amount of information for tobacco users trying to quit—featuring quit tips and a comprehensive list of tobacco cessation programs and resources offered throughout the state. Site visitors can go to the interactive map on the website, choose the island they live on, and then choose the program that best suits their needs.

For more information about the Hawaii Tobacco Quitline, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit www.quitnowhawaii.org.

The Department of Health is working in collaboration with community partners to educate and promote available tobacco cessation services and resources to better support those in their communities who are tackling nicotine addiction. There are more than 39 hospital and community-based tobacco cessation service providers that offer tobacco treatment programs across the state.

The department has developed a list of “Cessation Resources in Hawaii” for the public, and a “Cessation Service Providers Referral Guide” for providers. The Referral Guide assists those who are interested in either using or referring a patient/client to tobacco cessation services. These guides/resources are also available on the Hawaii State Department of Health website at www.hawaii.gov/health under “brochures.”

About Hawaii Tobacco Quitline

The Hawaii Tobacco Quitline is funded by the Hawaii Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust Fund. The trust fund’s dollars represent a portion of Hawaii’s Master Settlement Agreement payments, which are the result of a joint lawsuit against the four biggest U.S. tobacco companies to recover health care costs for treatment of tobacco-related illnesses paid for by taxpayers.

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