Supervisors Vote for 40-Cent Cigarette Tax

Loudoun will join its surrounding states and localities in levying a tax on cigarettes, at the state-allowed maximum of 40 cents per pack, beginning Nov. 1.

The General Assembly this year gave the county the authority to levy taxes on cigarettes, plastic grocery bags and events tickets, and supervisors are working on taking advantage of all three. In the case of cigarettes, the county is catching up to towns, which already have the authority to levy a tax.

Supervisors have cited the effects of higher taxes on cigarettes to reduce smoking, particularly among young people, and the public health impacts of reducing smoking.

During the discussion at their Sept. 8 meeting, some supervisors sought to phase in the tax over time, in an attempt to dampen the impact on small, independent convenience stores. Some convenience store owners have written to the county board with concerns that the tax would hurt their business by chasing customers to neighboring jurisdictions. West Virginia and Maryland both tax cigarettes at a much higher rate, but Fairfax County imposes only a 30-cent tax, and Clarke County taxes them at 20 cents per pack.

Supervisor Michael R. Turner (D-Ashburn) asked the board to phase the tax in by 20-cent increments on Nov. 1 and Jan. 1, 2023, which he said was suggested by a store owner.

“Our small businesses have been through the ringer for the last 20 months. I thought it was a well-though-out request,” Turner said. “[…] I just think if we can do it in a way that is less painful for our small business owners in Loudoun County, then I would support that.”

Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles) said the tax will more strongly affect small, independent convenience stores than larger chains, and said phasing in the tax would give them time to adapt, but only he and Turner supported phasing in the tax.

“Cigarettes are the only legal thing, when used completely as they’re supposed to be used, will kill you,” said County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large). “And with all due respect to convenience stores, to ask me to hold off a little bit longer on your little death sticks so that you can get a little bit more money and change your business model, is not something that I think is okay to even ask for me to do, to be quite honest.”

Already most of Loudoun’s towns tax cigarette sales, with Hamilton the exception. The local taxes are not permitted to stack—in other words, in towns that already have a cigarette tax, the county tax will not apply.

Supervisors approved the new tax 6-0-1-2, with Letourneau abstaining and Supervisors Caleb E. Kershner (R-Catoctin) and Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) absent. County staff members will now work out a final agreement with the Virginia Cigarette Tax Board for the administration of the cigarette tax, enforcement efforts, and revenue collection, and return to supervisors at a future meeting to approve that agreement.

10 thoughts on “Supervisors Vote for 40-Cent Cigarette Tax

  • 2021-09-09 at 3:54 pm
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    Regressive tax schemes have become the bread and butter of the (D) party.

  • 2021-09-09 at 3:55 pm
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    So, Randall has no problem at all making money off of the “death sticks” herself. Nice.

    • 2021-09-10 at 1:49 pm
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      Don’t you know it is not being a hypocrite when a democrat taxes you for your own benefit!
      How is that cost efficient Metro working for you?
      Didn’t all our problems ended with renaming everything from roads to NFL teams.
      I know lets spend $8200.00 per home for broadband in western Loudoun and call that infrastructure provided by Covid relief although I do not recognize how that equates to Covid relief.

  • 2021-09-09 at 4:53 pm
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    Politicians who believe this will curtail tobacco use, are not serious people.

  • 2021-09-09 at 5:39 pm
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    There should be a new rule, no new taxes without eliminating an old one.

  • 2021-09-09 at 6:12 pm
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    Three points.

    1- I buy cigarettes for family members in NYC because they are cheaper here. I assume I’m not the only one but the point being that it is tax money we’re getting now but will likely not get in the future.

    2 – What are they doing with the taxes collected. Tax must be used for the purpose they’re collected and must have some association to the product taxed. So I assume it will be used for healthcare. Not some other BOS pet project.

    3 – If those supervisors understand that small business will be hurt, thus they propose a phase in, why the heck are they implementing it in the first place.

    BTW – I don’t smoke and hate the smell.

  • 2021-09-09 at 9:41 pm
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    Given Virginia total pack tax was $.54 while Pennsylvania is $3.07 and West Virginia is $1.51 this tax has a lot of increases possible over time. It also takes away the. incentive for someone to drive out of Leesburg to avoid the town cigarette tax. This should increase what Leesburg receives as well.

  • 2021-09-10 at 5:08 am
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    Are cigarettes as bad as opoids? Our country has an addiction problem to illegal drugs. Smoking doesn’t seem as bad, why tax it even more. Let people have their vice and if it is cigarettes, so be it. Taxing the tobacco drives these farms out of business. They are legal and not as dangerous as ingesting the street drugs brought is and supported by criminals.

  • 2021-09-10 at 9:40 am
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    Please explain how Randall is profiting from this?

    • 2021-09-10 at 3:12 pm
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      She is taking 40 cents/pack to spend on…?… Because the $400M in data center revenue wasn’t enough to satisfy the avaricious Democrats, they now have to tax cigarettes and plastics bags and anything else that they can. These Democrat fool Supervisors clearly don’t understand that the actions they take only hurt the little guys they say they are going to help. But maybe the bigger fools are the little guys that keep voting for them.

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