Largest Proposed Pipe Tobacco Tax Increase Ever

New Bill Proposes a 1,650% Tax Increase on Pipe Tobacco

In January of 2010, we had H.R. 4439, the Tobacco Tax Parity Act of 2010 which proposed raising the tax on pipe tobacco 775% from $2.8311 to $24.78 per pound.

Thankfully that bill died in committee.

Now we have S. 1403: IDEA Full Funding Act.

Instead of suggesting that pipe tobacco’s tax rate be brought up to the level of roll-your-own at $24.78 per pound, this time, they want to DOUBLE the tax rate on RYO first, and then bring pipe tobacco to that level of $49.55 per pound, which is a 1,650% increase.

Detail of the bill are as follows –

S. 1403 of the 112th Congress was introduced on July 21, 2011, by Sen. Thomas Harkin (D-IA) and referred to the Finance Committee.

S. 1403 (The IDEA Full Funding Act) proposes to provide increased educational funding for disabled and mentally retarded children with exorbitant increases in Federal tobacco taxes.

For example:
It specifies a tax increase on cigarettes from $ 50.33 to $ 100.50
It specifies a tax increase on Roll-Your-Own Tobacco from $ 24.78 to $49.55

It specifies a tax increase on Pipe Tobacco from $ 2.8311 to $ 49.55

That is not a typographical error. The intent is to raise the Federal tax on pipe tobacco to the same as Roll-Your-Own Tobacco – after they double the tax on RYO.

It specifies similar tax increases for all other tobacco products.

You can view the bill here:

You can voice your opinion here:

Please also tell us what you think in the commenting box below.

36 Responses

  • are they fuggin NUTS!!!!
    why dont they understand higher taxes means lower revenue and where in the Constitution give the fedreal government any power for education?

  • This is ridiculous, it never ceases to amaze me how greedy the government can be, it’s never enough. I’m a tax paying adult who needs no “nanny” government to tell me that’s they’re doing this in my best interest. All I can say is, keep your grubby paws out of my wallet, you already get more of my money than you deserve!

  • Once again, we have the feds funding a worthwhile idea with a stupid one. IF this passes, and smokers quit due to simple economics, where does the funding come from then?
    From the states and organizations that have bought into the federal trough! Which means either higher local taxes or organizations suddenly having to cut programs that people have come to depend on.
    The unspoken, hidden idea here is that smokers are weak-minded addicts, and can be counted on to fund this on a continuing basis. It’s interesting to me that e-cigs are now being included; obviously Senator Hanes has gotten information from his staff that tobacco tax revenues are down now that electronic cigarettes are available.
    What’s even more ludicrous is using the tiny population of pipe smokers as your cash cow. Good Lord!! Does anyone in Congress actually think these things through?

  • Opinion voiced, shouted, screamed, written on the wall with blood. If this **** continues I’ll have to move… Or become President.

  • This is beyond ridiculous. It is an idustry killer. Lets put more people out of work in this already very troubled economy. Looks like its time to really stock up on tobacco before it goes into effect…if it passes which hopefully it won’t. To quote my ex boss, “Behavioral modification through taxation is tyranny.”

  • 300,000,000 v. 555. This only has traction if silence is the only opposition; follow the link, write your representatives, use your voice.

  • Deplorable! 🙁
    As I’m on record as saying:
    This is both a reminder and a wake-up call for all of us: smokers and non-smokers alike. When legislators kill the goose that was laying the golden eggs, they’ll turn their attention to other taxable activities. Then, even non-smokers will have some “skin in the game”.
    The solution lies in fiscal responsibility in government: spending less; streamlining or privatizing bloated bureaucracies; and finding creative ways to generate revenue, like stimulating business with tax incentives, not squelching it with tax levies. As things are, the morons in office only see one solution, tax increases that strangulate the economy.
    I’m wouldn’t vote for a Democrat even if he was my brother running for dog catcher!

  • Don’t think that because this bill died in committee that it is gone. Our present President has an unfortunatew habit of legislating through Presidential Order that which his minions can’t get through congress legally. Look at the illegal immigration policy he just affected.

  • Thanks for linking to POPVOX, a nonpartisan neutral platform that makes it easy for individuals to send messages directly to their Senators and Representatives.
    The link to weigh in on S. 1403: IDEA Full Funding Act (aka “The Saving Lives by Lowering Tobacco Use Act”) is . POPVOX will then deliver your message to your Senators. (By the way, this bill is the most commented on bill on POPVOX this week!)

  • @Rachna – You’re welcome. Thanks for having the platform to link to.
    @WinstonS – Great “Clowns of the Senate” picture.

  • CALL AND WRITE YOUR SENATORS – YOU HAVE THE TIME AND THE MEANS TO DO IT. THIS WILL NOT DIE UNLESS WE TELL THE SENATORS THAT WE’RE AGAINST IT AND TIRED OF FUNDING PROGRAMS. Also tell them that you want to have the SCHIP tobacco tax repealed, another unequitable program using increased tobacco taxes to fund it.
    DO IT NOW, before it is too late!

  • Hey folks, taxes have to come from somewhere.
    I for one am delighted that the pipe tobacco increase will help ensure that rich kids can inherit millions tax-free, people with incomes one hundred times mine pay rates about half of what I do, and bankers and oil companies have guaranteed profits.
    Just imagine the horrible fallout if we reversed things and raised their taxes! No, no, no – we don’t want that. After all, those are the job creators.

  • I can´t understand what these guys are trying to do… This is ludicrous. Pipe tobacco is already a very difficult to find delicacy and us fellows who buy and enjoy them do it because we enjoy the nice aromas and flavours and relaxing moments it can provide. Not beacuse we are addicts for Christs Sake! Now if they raise the taxes to this insane magnitude they will simply ravage and destroy the blenders who take so much pride and effort in bringing us nice blends to cheer over.
    Ps: No little kids or adolescents will get addicted to pipe tobacco you senate morons.

  • This is the reason that the “pipe tobacco” is not REALLY pipe tobacco, the RYO disguises as pipe tobacco needs to be weeded out!!! I don’t smoke RYO, never smoked RYO, and don’t plan on buying RYO, but if there is nothing that distinguishes RYO versus real pipe tobacco then were all gonna be in the same boat… RYO is not pipe tobacco and IMO never will… I don’t want to pay more for my pipe tobacco because some companies that produce RYO are trying to fly under the radar!!! Get lost RYO and fight your own fight…
    With that said, I hope the bill fails… Which it probably will do

  • Thanks for the notification. I realize the Boston Tea Party was about taxation without representation. However, taxation with crappy representation is nearly as bad. There is always some nutball senator or congressman out there willing to propose a ludicrous bill. I suggest any of these elected officials simply become Christian Scientists and forgo all alcohol, tobacco, drugs or medication and rely on the power of prayer to solve the country’s fiscal crisis and make everyone in the US abhor all vices. LOL

  • None of the ranting matters. You can write humor, logic (lack of), ludicrousity by nutballs and changing to some type of religious order, RYO vs already rolled, pipe tobacco vs RYO or cigars, it won’t change ANYTHING – UNLESS YOU CONTACT YOUR SENATOR TO OPPOSE THIS BILL. As much as we appreciate Kevin giving us space here to rant, Pipesmagazine message is a WAKE UP CALL TO US, and giving you the info to have the testicularity to move forward and do something about this! The only thing that will do ANY GOOD is to PERSONALLY contact (phone and letter – forget email) your Senators’ offices. Tell them that you would appreciate a return message when this matter appears in front of your Senator, as you would like to know what he/she has done to oppose this bill, and his vote of record on it. Find out when it is going before committee (I asked – it’s not known yet – Congress recessed for the hurricane) and call the Senators’ offices the day before, speaking to a representative, saying that you oppose this bill! Work on it, or end up paying for it.

  • Enough is enough. Pipe smokers have taken unwarranted hits in our wallets long enough. It is time for the tobacco nazis and the non-smokers to find something else to attack. I am a 61 year old adult and do not need some “sitting on his ass” politician to decide if I am allowed to smoke.

  • Nothing can be “beyond ridiculous”. “Ridiculous” is an absolute. And this proposal is IT.

  • Where were all of you when the F.T.C.A. was passed and regulation of Tobacco was handed over to the FDA? I knew this was coming. Didn’t you? It angers me that now it is too late in the game. When we all had a chance to voice our opinions, did we? I did! Many times! To no avail, of course. So here we are. Please voice your opinions to your Represetatives (once again). If you do not, forever be prepared to hold your peace.
    Yes, this is very sad, indeed. But, make no mistake about it, it is real!

  • I’ll second what Linwood said. We shouldn’t be demonizing the RYO makers for doing what they need to do in order to survive. You don’t want to blame the victim. After all, whether it be pipe, RYO, cigars, or manufactured cigarettes, who’s profiting more from the sale of a pound of tobacco here, the tobacco-maker or the government? Rather than laying the blame on RYO or other tobacconists, we should be concentrating on trying to tell the government to reduce ITS take. Sign the POPVOX petition above as supplied by Rachna, and let’s remember to vote the rascals out.
    The answer, as Linwood stated, is to eventually get SCHIP repealed, then there’d be no confusion. Personally, I don’t care. You can spot the RYO tobaccos fraudulently labeling themselves as “pipe” tobaccos a mile away. You’d have to be daft not to.

  • Thanks for your reinforcement, Motownmick. Congress, well, certain ones in Congress, want tobacco – no matter what tobacco type – to be taxed at a HUGE rate. Why? You can name quite a few reasons, but looking into it further will SHOCK you. well, maybe not. but, they’re doing it, no matter what. The only way to stop it is to raise enough stink to YOUR SENATOR. How many PIPE smokers are in the USA? Let’s say 1/2 million. .5/300 or 0.0016 of the population. How many have heard about this? (Well, it it weren’t for Kevin and PipesMagazine, only a few of us would have….) MAYBE 2,000 of us. So, this bill can only be opposed by how many? “Heck, they’re stupid smokers – the addicted will pay anything (see what happened when we taxed cigarettes that much? only a few fussed – then kept buying them)! They can’t do anything abotu this with such a small number of votes. AND the orgs that will put their name on it – because it’s for handicapped CHILDREN for gosh sakes – will overwhelm the stupid,addicted smokers – no problem.”
    SO FIGHT THIS AS INEQUITABLE – ASK WHY SMOKERS – remember, only 0.0016 of the population – is supposed to fund this (and the SCHIP funding, and……). YOUR SENATOR IS STUPID IF HE THINKS THE HYPER-TAXING OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS will completely fund this effort – and tell him/her so. So what happens then? The taxes increase, and we get fed more lies, saying it is for good – for the children, and to save us from ourselves. ATTACK this logic. WRITE LETTERS TO YOUR EDITOR AND YOUR SENATORS. GET OTHER ORGANIZATIONS involved. DO SOMETHING TO EXPOSE THIS TO SOME MORE OF THE PUBLIC. Visit your Senator’s office – with your written letter and let them know that you think this is inequitable taxation, a lie that it will fund this program, and that you will fight it publically.

  • I followed the link suggested and registered at POPVOX and they said both state senators would receive what I said. This is what I said:
    I oppose S. 1403: IDEA Full Funding Act because..: This bill is counterproductive no matter what you think about tobacco use.
    1. It will cause less use of legal tobacco and will increase both the use of illegal drugs and also contribute to the development of an underground tobacco economy as tobacco users attempt to bypass an oppressive tax.
    2. The government will then receive less money from legitimate and reasonable taxes on tobacco and will end up losing more money as they attempt to enforce taxes which some will try to bypass – enforcement will cost more money and instead of gaining money government will lose money.
    3. It furthers an agenda to make smokers feel like second-class citizens even though such notables as Walter Cronkite, Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Gerald Ford, Franklin D. Roosevelt, etc., etc., were smokers. {Most were pipe smokers but FDR smoked cigarettes}.
    4. “WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES” does not exclude smokers. And “ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL” does not make smokers less equal.
    5. For now we will ask you nicely:

  • In the UK 40% of tobacco sold is black market thanks to the stupidly high taxes. Result is less for the treasury more for the organised criminals. It’s insane don’t go down this route.

  • As an interested party in Pipe smoking we have massive taxes on Tobacco here in the UK.
    50g (2 oz) pack retails for £10-£12 0r $16-$19. so we travel to Belgium or Holland and buy at discount, tax reduced for £4.00 or $6.50 ( all legal).
    Fight the fight guys Taxes never come down, all they do is drive business underground or overseas.The UK government loses out on this revenue if it were less greedy it could increase sales here instead of send business overseas. BTW in a 20 minute session in a tobacco supermarket in Belgium I witnessed £4,500 in transactions ($7,300) and most of these places are open 24/7 , search the net look for tobacco shops in Belgium.

  • Let see if I get these rates correct a large tin of Half and Half in NY State will cost about a C-Note.
    Also, sellers lighten up on the “Luxury Tobacco” verbiage, that only encourages the folks who never meet a tax they did not love and I would think most of them do not like smoking to begin with.

  • Does anyone know if that POPVOX link is working? After I posted a comment {see above}
    the website for POPVOX said I would be notified when comment was sent to senators – I never received any notification. Last time they tried to to pass a huge tax hike on pipe tobacco we had a valid link and as I followed it we had 20,000 responses And the bill died in committee. So what is going on now? Do we have a valid email campaign going or not? What is the latest status of the bill?

  • Hey Rekall,
    I’m a co-founder of POPVOX and happy to answer any questions. The link to weigh in on this bill is working ( If you go to your POPVOX home page at, you’ll see confirmation of when your comment to your Senators was delivered by us.
    The bill was introduced recently (7/21/11) and hasn’t moved through the committee process yet. (If you really want to get in the weeds and the connection between the tobacco tax and IDEA funding:
    You can see opposition (and support) for the bill at and from there, you can see a map of where support/opposition is stronger geographically. Right now, the bill has 7% support and 93% opposition among POPVOX users. I hope you’ll share with your friends and networks this mini-link so they too can learn about this bill and send a message to Congress.

  • Hello Rachna from POPVOX, [RE: S. 1403: IDEA Full Funding Act]
    I keep checking and all I see is the letter I composed and all kinds of other information and data on this and other bills BUT on my computer screen there is no indication or confirmation of my letter being sent out. Was this letter sent? To who?

  • Hello again Rachna from POPVOX, [RE: S. 1403: IDEA Full Funding Act],
    Yes, I now see confirmation of delivery written under comment.
    weigh in on S. 1403: IDEA Full Funding Act (aka “The Saving Lives by Lowering Tobacco Use Act”) is . POPVOX will then deliver your message to your Senators.

  • Awesome Rekall! Thanks for letting us know.
    I hope you keep using POPVOX to urge others to weigh in on S 1403, and other bills related to tobacco. You might want to check out: the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing & Small Business Jobs Preservation Act ( or the Candy Tobacco Tax Parity Act, which taxes certain smokeless tobacco products (

  • Smokers have rights, too! When I buy a new pair of shoes I like to try them on first.Same with a new tobacco blend or cigar. Do we need to beg our government to allow us to smoke in a SMOKE shop? Reckon so. I voiced my opinion through POPVOX. Thanks for the heads up.

  • First thing first, we have lobbying for us in Congress and the Senate? You would think that the tobacco companies would have petitions for people to sign. And are they lobbying hard for us? Has Congress and the Senate become the new mob? Because it seems like every chance they get their shaking down the little guy. Action is what needs to be done now. Words cannot express how degrading and insulting the two houses make a smoker feel. Tobacco has helped make this country great, so has beer and wine and liquor. We don’t see 1000% increase in the spirit industry. The public would not stand for that. We need help, and we need it now.