U.S. States Eyeing Cigarette Tax Increases

SANTA FE, N.M., March 26 (UPI) — Several U.S. states have either increased or are considering increasing their tax rates on cigarettes to raise revenue, officials say.

New Mexico State Rep. Gail Chasey said Gov. Bill Richardson agreed to a cigarette tax increase of 75 cents per pack amid concerns about his state’s budget, USA Today reported Friday.

Meanwhile, legislators in Utah voted in favor of a $1 tax increase on each pack of cigarettes sold in the state.

Similar cigarette tax increases are being considered in at least six other U.S. states, including Georgia, Kansas and South Carolina, the report said.

“The main motivation at the moment for most legislators is revenue,” Pete Fisher of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said. “The budget situation has certainly increased the number of states considering them.”

The cigarette tax increases implemented this year come after 14 states and the District of Columbia increased their taxes on cigarettes in 2009, USA Today said.

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