Eye On Boise

THURSDAY, JAN. 6, 2011, 10:45 A.M.

Big cig tax increase in the works

House Tax Chairman Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, will sponsor legislation this year backed by an array of health groups to raise Idaho's cigarette tax by $1.25 a pack. If approved, the increase is expected to bring about a big drop in smoking, particularly among young people - plus a boost to the state Medicaid budget. "We're fortunate enough that a lot of other states have done this so we know what the experiences are," said Heidi Low of the American Cancer Society of Idaho. "Those estimates are conservative." Asked whether a big cigarette tax increase will just push Idahoans to buy their smokes on tribal reservations within the state, Lake said, "The tribes indicated that they will raise it the same rate that we raise it."

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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