Kaine backs smoking ban

The town of Blacksburg is currently proposing to raise the tax on cigarettes, which would match Christiansburg and Montgomery County’s tax, according to The Roanoke Times. The county’s tax will go into effect July 1.

Blacksburg’s current cigarette tax stands at 30 cents, but the town has proposed a tax of 40 cents — the same rate as Christiansburg and Montgomery County. The latter passed its proposal last month and will only tax in unincorporated areas.

Montgomery County’s cigarette tax was met with some pushback, as it was approved on a 4–3 vote. Critics were opposed to the burden a higher tax would bring, while supporters believed it could influence healthier habits.

Marc Verniel, the town manager of Blacksburg, said in an interview with The Roanoke Times that the reason for the proposal is to ensure the tax is consistent with the county.

According to Verniel, the current cigarette tax provides Blacksburg with about $200,000 per year, but due to less frequency in smoking, the revenue has gradually decreased over time.

There are other taxed items and services that provide more revenue than sales of cigarettes, such as business licenses and the meals tax, yielding millions of dollars every year. Starting July 1, the sales and lodging taxes are expected to yield almost $2 million each fiscal year.

Verniel stated that Blacksburg’s cigarette tax does not apply to certain smokable products, such as cigars, vapes and pipe tobacco.

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