April 2, 2014
The City of Charlottesville could start charging smokers even more for a pack of cigarettes.
Smokers currently pay a local tax of $0.35 per pack purchased within city limits. That's on top of state and federal taxes.
City council is considering raising that local tax to $0.55 per pack.
One of the effects of increasing the tax would be to discourage people from smoking. Council has a goal of being one of the healthiest cities in the country.
But smoker Lindsey Page doesn't think the proposed tax is high enough for most people to kick the habit.
"I think they'll definitely go out of their way to pay the extra $0.20. Definitely. If they're a smoker, they're going to do it regardless," she said.
The potential increase is expected to bring in an additional $265,000 in revenue for the city next fiscal year.
However, that money is not guaranteed.
Some people believe upped prices would instead encourage city smokers to take their business elsewhere, like Albemarle County, where there is no local tax on cigarettes.
A $0.55 cent local cigarette tax would put Charlottesville's rate over the state average of $0.44 a pack.
City council will hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance at Monday's meeting. That is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall.