You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Ohio considering higher taxes on some tobacco products

Taxes on most non-cigarette tobacco products would go up under a plan being considered by Ohio lawmakers.

Health advocates are calling on lawmakers to raise taxes on tobacco products to fund prevention and cessation programs as they consider other health care reforms.

The Ohio House scrapped Gov. John Kasich’s plan to expand Medicaid, the federal- and state-funded medical insurance program for low-income and disabled Ohioans, earlier this year in favor of pursuing reforms to the $19.8 billion a year program.

One in four Ohio adults smokes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate is much higher — 42 percent— among Ohio’s 2.3 million Medicaid participants.

Shelly Kiser, director of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Ohio, said that translates to $1.4 billion spent each year in state Medicaid costs for smoking-related illnesses.

Some tobacco products such as hookah and chewing tobacco and cigars are not taxed as much as regular cigarettes and could be impacted by this proposal.

Kiser and other health advocates told lawmakers on a Senate panel that equalizing the tax on other tobacco products to 55 percent from 17 percent could raise revenue to help Medicaid participants quit and prevent more people from using tobacco.

Ohio allocates no state funds to tobacco prevention and cessation, ranking the state and three others last in the nation for funding. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends Ohio spend $145 million each year from a $25.7 billion settlement between states and tobacco companies.

Ohio traded its share in for bonds to fill a budget hole in 2008, leaving local health districts to plan and fund programming.

Sen. Shannon Jones, R-Springboro, said she drafted an amendment to the state budget bill to equalize the tax. The amendment was not accepted in the Senate’s first round of revisions to the bill, but Jones said she would try to amend the bill again before it moves out of the Senate Finance Committee and to a full vote of the Senate.

Gregory Wellinghoff , owner of wholesale distributor Keilson Dayton, told lawmakers Thursday that raising the tax would not reduce smoking but encourage people to drive to neighboring states with lower taxes. Wellinghoff said stores in Hamilton and south Butler counties can’t sell a significant volume of cigarettes because of their proximity to Kentucky, where cigarettes are taxed 60 cents per pack compared to $1.25 cents in Ohio.

“Ohio is still going to have smokers, probably at similar levels as today,” said Wellinghoff, who also owns smoke shops in Southwest Ohio. “These people are going to buy their products out of Ohio. I’ll have to close my stores.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Politics

Lake events at Clark County Fairgrounds could bring in millions
Lake events at Clark County Fairgrounds could bring in millions

The Clark County Fairgrounds will begin hosting water and cross country events at its lake this summer, which tourism officials say could pump millions into the Springfield economy in the future. Later this year, the fairgrounds will host the 24th annual Solar Splash on June 7 to 11, a five-day solar boat regatta previously held in Dayton and known...
Another round of base closures is likely in 2020, Turner says
Another round of base closures is likely in 2020, Turner says

Rep. Mike Turner Wednesday told a crowd of Dayton civic and business leaders that they should be prepared for the possibility of a round of base closures in 2020 – a move that could have a sweeping impact on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Speaking at the Dayton Development Coalition’s annual fly-in in Washington, D.C., Turner, a Dayton...
Ohio Budget: House targets opiate addiction crisis
Ohio Budget: House targets opiate addiction crisis

Ohio House Republicans on Tuesday announced they’re pouring an extra $170.6 million into fighting the opiate addiction crisis. As Ohio leads the nation in accidental drug overdoses, state leaders are reaching for multiple fixes. The House budget plan carves out $170.6 million, including $12.2 million for prevention and education, $130 million...
Dayton leaders in D.C. to push local issues
Dayton leaders in D.C. to push local issues

Two former Ohio congressmen Tuesday expressed grave concern about President Donald Trump’s handling of North Korea, saying they worry that a diplomatic misstep could provoke North Korea to attack South Korea. Speaking before the Dayton Development Coalition Tuesday, former Reps. David Hobson, a Springfield Republican and Tony Hall, a Dayton Democrat...
Ohio House budget proposal would eliminate Municipal Clerk’s office
Ohio House budget proposal would eliminate Municipal Clerk’s office

An item in the Ohio House of Representatives biennial budget proposal could consolidate the clerk of courts offices in Clark County, if approved. The proposal would eliminate the office of the Municipal Clerk of Courts in Clark County and roll its duties into the Clark County Clerk of Courts Office, according to House Bill 49, which was released Tuesday...
More Stories