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Lawmakers Consider 12-Month Delay In Cigarette Tax Increase

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RALEIGH, N.C. — State lawmakers are considering a bill that would delay the implementation of the state's cigarette tax until July of 2007.

The bill introduced by Rep. James Langdon, R-Sampson, and Rep. Dewey Hill, D-Columbus, would postpone the 5 cent tax increase for 12 months. The tax was increased by five cents to 30 cents a pack in July of 2005.

Before the 2005 increase, North Carolina had the lowest cigarette tax in the country. Now, South Carolina holds that title at seven cents a pack.

Langdon told WRAL that the proposed delay is a response to South Carolina's own postponement of an increase in their state's cigarette tax.

According to Langdon, higher cigarette taxes are hurting sales in counties along the state border, where smokers can travel across state lines for cheaper prices.

If the delay were enacted, the cigarette tax increase would take effect on July 1, 2007. The proposed change is currently under consideration by a legislative committee.