Proposed Care for Moms Act Includes Provisions to Increase Tax on Tobacco Products

National Association of Tobacco Outlets says similar legislation has failed in Congress
Cigarette taxes
Photograph: Shutterstock

A proposal for a new act to support maternal health could also double the tax on cigarettes.

The Care for Moms Act supports the maternal health workforce, promotes access to prenatal and postpartum care and provides resources to mothers, according to U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Illinois) who introduced the act.

But part of the drafted legislation also includes provisions to increase the excise tax on tobacco products.

Those tobacco-related proposals in the act, as outlined by the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO), are:

  • Increase the tax on cigarettes from $1.01 to $2.02 per pack.
  • Implement a new e-cigarette tax that would equalize the tax on cigarettes.
  • Increase the tax on moist snuff from 11 cents per 1.2-ounce tin to $2.02 per can.
  • Double the tax on small cigars from $50.33 to $100.66.
  • Implement a new weight-based tax methodology on large cigars.
  • Double the tax on roll-your-own (from $24.78 per pound to $49.56 per pound).
  • Equalize the tax on chewing tobacco and pipe tobacco to tax these products like cigarettes.

NATO noted, however, that similar tax legislation has failed in past congressional sessions.

For example, an early version of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, or the reconciliation package, in 2021 also suggested doubling the federal excise tax on cigarettes, but that was later struck from the agenda.

Outside of the tobacco tax proposals, the Care for Moms Act includes provisions to establish a state-based perinatal quality collaborative grant program, establish regional centers of excellence to tackle implicit bias and promote cultural competence among health professionals, support federal efforts to grow and diversity the doula workforce and to extend Medicaid coverage for postpartum mothers in all 50 states, according to Durbin.

“In the U.S., Black women are three times more likely to die as a result of their pregnancy than White women,” Durbin said. “It is unacceptable that in this country we are losing mothers and their babies to deaths that could have been prevented with the right interventions and health care.”

“When we take care of moms and prioritize prenatal and postpartum care, we can help entire families flourish,” Kelly added. “The reality is that too many moms, and particularly Black moms, are losing their lives. That’s why I’m pushing for change, supporting providers and providing resources like mobile units and doulas. My goal is clear: to ensure that every mother has access to the care, empowerment and resources necessary to be the best moms they can be.”

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