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North Carolina Should Increase Cigarette Tax by 50 Cents to Save Lives and Raise Revenue
Date:7/8/2009

WASHINGTON, July 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080918/CFTFKLOGO )

We urge North Carolina legislators to take a stand to protect the health and pocketbooks of North Carolina families by heeding Governor Bev Perdue's call to include a 50-cent cigarette tax increase in the state budget. While a larger cigarette tax increase would produce even greater benefits, an increase of at least 50 cents -- to 85 cents a pack -- would be an important step toward protecting the state's kids and taxpayers from the devastating toll of tobacco. The state's current tax of 35 cents is the fourth lowest in the country and the national average is $1.31 a pack.

While the North Carolina Legislature grapples with a $4 billion budget deficit and potentially devastating cuts to state services, including many vital public health programs, other states are turning to tobacco tax increases to raise new revenue and dramatically reduce health care costs by reducing smoking. This year alone the following states have increased their taxes: Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin.

These 11 states have recognized that increasing tobacco taxes is a win-win-win solution -- a health win that will reduce tobacco use and save lives, a financial win that will raise much-needed revenue and reduce tobacco-caused health care costs, and a political win that is popular with voters. Seventy-nine percent of North Carolina voters support an even higher tax increase of $1.

Governor Perdue initially proposed a $1 increase, which would have yielded even greater health and fiscal benefits. Unfortunately, the House of Representat
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SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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