March 6, 2010 - A state Senate bill to tax smokeless tobacco by weight instead of by price passed the House of Delegates yesterday by a 92-6 vote, and it now goes to the governor for approval or veto.
Back on February 20th we reported there was a muted clash over the excise tax on smokeless tobacco in Virginia between Altria and Swedish Match, both located in the Richmond area. Altria, with its relatively more expensive premium brands of snuff, wanted the tax based on weight. While Swedish Match with less costly brands wanted the tax based on percentage of price. (Virginia - tax on smokeless tobacco Altria clashes with Swedish Match..)
The bill replaces the current tax of 10 percent of the price of moist snuff and loose-leaf chewing tobacco. For snuff, the new tax would be 18 cents per ounce. For loose-leaf tobacco, the new tax would be 21 cents per 3-ounce package. Larger packages would be taxed at a slightly lower per-ounce rate. The new rates should not significantly change the amount of revenue the state collects, an analysis by the state tax department said.
Reference: VIRGINIA Chewing tobacco tax bill goes to governor, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 3/5/2010.