Loudoun Supervisors Head Toward Cigarette Tax

Loudoun County supervisors look set to approve a 40-cent local cigarette tax in September.

A new state law authorizes counties to levy up to a cigarette tax up two cents per cigarette or 40 cents per pack of 20. Loudoun County is seeking admittance to the Northern Virginia Cigarette Tax Board, which would administer the tax. The county staff estimates the tax could bring $1.1 million to $2.8 million in revenue.

Incorporated towns already had the authority to tax cigarettes, and at a higher rate—the Town of Leesburg taxes cigarettes at 75 cents per pack, also administered by the NVCTB. The board also includes Fairfax County and cities and towns across Northern Virginia, including Hillsboro, Lovettsville, Middleburg, Purcellville and Round Hill. In Loudoun, only Hamilton does not already impose a cigarette tax.

Supervisors voted during a July 14 public hearing to send the proposed tax to a vote Sept. 8, their first meeting after their August recess.

Some convenience store owners had contacted supervisors to express their concern about the tax possibly chasing customers to neighboring jurisdictions with lower prices—although West Virginia and Maryland both tax cigarettes by much more, Fairfax County imposes only a 30-cent tax, and Clarke County does not yet tax cigarettes, although that county board is also considering doing so.

Supervisors were largely united in supporting the tax as a deterrent to smoking, especially among young people. A report prepared for the public hearing cites a 2001-2015 study that found higher taxes are tied to declines in smoking, particularly among young adults.

County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) said she hopes to direct the cigarette tax money into the county’s Housing Trust Fund—and that if she could put a higher tax on cigarettes, she would.

“Obviously, I care about our small businesses, and obviously I care about our convenience stores, obviously. That goes without saying, and it is unfortunate that they will suffer,” Randall said. “But when I think about the long-term negative effect of nicotine on society, on babies who are born, it just doesn’t weigh out.”

“I’ve had some family members that have had emphysema and have had lung cancer, and I’ve seen what it does to families, said Supervisor Sylvia R. Glass (D-Broad Run). “And just to know that it usually starts with children at a young age smoking cigarettes, that a lot of people come to their demise.”

The local taxes are not permitted to stack—Loudoun County’s cigarette tax will only apply outside towns that have their own tax.

The commonwealth also levies 60 cents of tax per cigarette pack, meaning the total tax in Loudoun County if the tax is adopted will be $1 per pack.

7 thoughts on “Loudoun Supervisors Head Toward Cigarette Tax

  • 2021-07-16 at 3:16 pm
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    Maybe I missed it but it does say what they will do with the monies. I favor the tax so long it is used in health related expenditures and not pet projects.

  • 2021-07-16 at 3:21 pm
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    Oh how the local (D)s do love them some regressive taxation.

    Do recall that some of these same people cobbled together excuses to avoid taxing pot sales just a couple of months ago.

  • 2021-07-16 at 3:25 pm
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    They waste enough money already quit spending instead of raising taxes for our own good, lol!

  • 2021-07-16 at 4:00 pm
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    Democrats never met a tax they didn’t like.

  • 2021-07-17 at 10:37 am
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    The retail associations of Prince William County and Fauquier County deeply appreciate all the new business the Loudoun County and Fairfax County board of supervisors will be directing their way.

    And the good citizens of Loudoun County should ask their board exactly how they plan to waste whatever new revenue that is generated by this tax. How many packs of smokes will it take to rename Route 50 and Route 7? Can we ask our smoking friends to step up to the plate and increase their consumption of tobacco products to jumpstart the funding for these critical infrastructure projects?

  • 2021-07-18 at 8:49 pm
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    when are we going to remove taxes? All the board does is add or raise taxes they never remove a tax and then in the next breath they tell us how we need to make teh county more affordable, what a load of crap.

  • 2021-07-20 at 7:14 am
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    By the way – how many registered votes realize that Loudoun sends hundreds of millions in sales tax to Richmond every year yet receive only a portion back based on the composite index employed by the state to limit what wealthy communities receive? NONE of the current BOS nor the school board even raised this issue as part of the legislative agenda to protect Loudoun but chose instead to charge a higher property tax than the rest of the state to compensate for the loss. I’m not against a cigarette tax and we need to stop accepting single use plastics but there are literally hundreds of millions taken from Loudoun every year we don’t even ask our candidates for governor or state legislature to improve on! WAKE UP! 🙂

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