Senate Democrats have introduced legislation that would ramp up the government’s monitoring of the sale and trade of tobacco, The Washington Times reports
The bill goes beyond President Obama's proposal to hike the federal cigarette tax and funnel the profits into expanded preschool education.
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The Tobacco Tax and Enforcement Reform Act, as the bill is titled, would raise taxes by 93 percent and tax all tobacco products at the same rate.
It would also attempt to reduce tobacco trafficking by identifying shipments through the use of specific markings, requiring export warehouses to file reports with the Treasury Department and condoning the sale or lease of tobacco product manufacturing equipment only to those with proper licenses.
“This legislation not only raises revenue for critical children’s health programs, it will also lower youth smoking, because we know that youth tobacco consumption falls when tobacco taxes rise,” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., one of the four senators who introduced the legislation.
“Under current law, loopholes in the taxes on tobacco products and insufficient regulations regarding tobacco trafficking mean that cheaper sources of tobacco remain too easily accessible to children and teens,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said.
“Curbing tobacco use by our kids is an achievable goal and with these reforms, we can help spare future generations of young people from this deadly epidemic.”
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