Price Of Cigarettes May Be On The Rise

By KBJR News 1

February 16, 2012 Updated Feb 16, 2012 at 5:52 PM CST

Duluth, MN - (Northland's NewsCenter) - The price of cigarettes could be on the rise.

Republican state policymakers from Rochester, Carla Nelson and Mike Benson introduced a bill Monday proposing the price of cigarettes be raised by a dollar-29 per pack.

The bill would also increase the tax on other tobacco products to 95-percent of their wholesale price.

Lawmakers and Health organizations say this bill would prevent more than 35-thousand kids from becoming adult smokers, help more than 26-thousand Minnesota adults quite tobacco use, and raise an estimated 320-million-dollars in new state revenue over the next biennium.

While officials from the American Lung Association see this as a positive move, Smoke Shops are not supporting the bill and do not believe it will help people stop smoking.

"The best practice is to reduce youth initiation to tobacco and also to help people who are choosing to use tobacco quit is to increase the price of tobacco. So the more we increase the price, the more people are going to be inclined to quit," says Program Manager for the American Lung Association, Jill Doberstein.

"We are oppose to it, we feel that any more taxes right now would hurt our economy and we feel that this tax is definitely targeted at blue collar Americans, and that it's totally unnecessary," says owner of the Smoke Shop in Duluth, Mike Wazwaz.

The bill will get its first reading on the senate floor on Thursday.

Written for the web by Danyel Piecek.
DPiecek@Northlandsnewscenter.com

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