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Eye On Olympia

Anti-smoking advocates call for a $1-a-pack tax hike on cigarettes…

The American Heart Association, cancer society, and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids are calling for $1-a-pack tax hike on cigarettes, saying that less smoking saves the state a lot of money on health costs.

“It’s not about revenue, it’s about health savings,” state Sen. Rodney Tom said in a press release minutes ago. Tom, D-Medina, today introduced Senate Bill 5626.

“The societal cost of a pack of cigarettes is over $15,” he said. “So we’re subsidizing smoking.”

Washington already charges a fifth-highest-in-the-nation cigarette tax of $20.25 a carton, plus sales tax. This would add $10 per carton to that.

Tom’s bill would steer the additional money into anti-tobacco programs, the state’s general fund, a water quality fund, a violence-reduction and drug-enforcement account, a fund for schools, and anything left over would go to the state’s health services account.

Proponents say the changes would mean nearly $100 million a year in new taxes and would reduce smoking.

 


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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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