NC advocates urge $1-per-pack cigarette tax rise

Posted March 15, 2011

— Anti-smoking advocates want to double North Carolina's cigarette tax, but they recognize their wish is unlikely to come true.

A coalition that includes the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association met Tuesday with legislators at the General Assembly. They introduced companion bills on Monday that would increase the cigarette tax by $1 per pack.

North Carolina's cigarette tax is 45 cents per pack, one of the lowest in the country. The state last raised the cigarette tax two years ago, when it was increased by 10 cents a pack.

Cigarette tax proposal Dems, health advocates call for higher state cigarette tax

Anti-smoking advocates said the $1.45 per pack tax could generate about $300 million, keep teenagers from starting to smoke and reduce adult smoking. They also cited a statewide poll that showed 60 percent of adults favor a $1-per-pack tax increase.

"Clearly, North Carolina voters don't view the cigarette tax as they do other taxes," said Pam Seamans, policy director of the North Carolina Alliance for Health.

Rep. Jennifer Weiss, D-Wake, said the added revenue from the tax would help stave off cuts to education and other programs in a tight budget year.

"The national average for cigarette taxes is now $1.45 a pack. Raising our tax by $1 will place us exactly at the national average," Weiss said. "Raising the cigarette tax is the responsible thing to do."

Republican legislative leaders say they have no plans to raise taxes, and that includes tobacco and alcohol.


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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Mar 18, 2011

    NC tries to recoup costs from items that cost the government (us) money. It’s becoming clearer every day that some items cost NC (us) more money than others. (For instance, every pack of cigarettes may cost NC $5.60 in healthcare costs.)

    When data like this are discovered, who should pay? Should we adjust the taxes on that item accordingly to keep up with the costs to the state? Should we increases taxes somewhere else? Should we cut education to pay for smokers?

    If we don't increase cigarette taxes, 3000 children will continue this habit every day...and we have people who, at this point in time, are intentionally ignorant or just apathetic about health risks...who are not being held responsible for their destructive & expensive actions. It’s time for them to stop relying on us to pay their healthcare...stop paying them welfare for their unnecessary and deadly habit.

  • quebholder Mar 16, 2011

    I may be wrong, but I could have sworn the cigarette tax increased 50 cents a pack here in NC. That was just after the federal government increased it $1.00 a pack. I feel this is a form of discrimination as people who smoke cigarettes seem to be the only target that is gone after. Eventually people will quit smoking and then where are they going to get the revenue?

  • keneds Mar 16, 2011

    lets put a TAX on all politicians, we would pay off the debt and could have a huge party as well

  • PickAnotherID Mar 16, 2011

    How about a tax on anybody proposing to raise taxes on just a particular segment of society, whether it be smokers, drinkers, "junk" ceral eaters, or whatever??

  • beachlvr0804 Mar 16, 2011

    I don't smoke,, but why target one segment in our society....why not tax alcohol in order to deter drinkers from drinking too much and then driving drunk and killing promising young ballerinas........

    The truth is, no matter whether alcohol, cigarette taxes are raised, it doesn't stop people from doing what they want to do...they will always find a way.

  • carroln Mar 16, 2011

    why not tax the naacp for costing us so much money in wake co. every time he whines about something charge him 50 cent. in a year we can pay off all the debt we have in nc.....

  • Bob3425 Mar 16, 2011

    they would help stave off cuts to education? Aren't we taxs enough in the name of Education? Where is all the money going too? Salary? school supplies? building? probably not how about waste or fraud or abuse. The state government should only be funding K -12, college degree should be on the student, what is apporiate for the Universites, the state use those funds for low interest student loans, if a university go down, that business and that what colleges are, their in the business of education.

  • GroupOfPricklyPears Mar 16, 2011

    No taxes. Keep reducing government, universities and nonprofits.

  • PanthersFan45 Mar 15, 2011

    I don't smoke, but what I do take exception to is the targeting of groups based on their habits for revenue. The state needs to try and focus on less spending before going on a another tax-raising spree. It always seems to boil down to sin taxes. They've already discussed alcoohol sales on Sundays and now this ..... of course the highest taxes on gasoline in the southeast are here .... when will it stop ? This whole thing is about wanting more revenue from what I can tell.

  • jcudaback Mar 15, 2011

    LOL theertwinger! Well said :)