UPDATE 5/27: The Portsmouth City Council voted 6-to-1 to raise the tax to 90 cents per pack, according to city spokesperson Dana Woodson.
PORTSMOUTH -- Will higher cigarette prices get smokers in Portsmouth to kick the habit?
City Council on Tuesday night will hold a public hearing on a proposal to increase the tax from 60 cents to 90 cents a pack. The proposal is in partnership with Healthy Portsmouth, a group committed to making Portsmouth the “healthiest city in Hampton Roads.”
City officials say the Centers for Disease Control states buying cigarettes contributes to personal financial loss and that tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death.
According to Portsmouth City Manager John Rowe, Portsmouth is the only Hampton Roads city that intends to raise its cigarette tax for the 2014-1015 fiscal year.
The city currently has one of the lowest cigarette tax rates in the region; but if the ordinance is passed, Portsmouth would have the highest rate in Hampton Roads.
City spokeswoman Dana Woodson says the proposal, which is part of that budget, will be voted on during the May 13 City Council meeting.
If approved, the new price would take effect July 1.