Pennsylvania Smoking Tax Under Siege

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Pennsylvania Smoking Tax Under Siege

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Anti-smoking groups today asked lawmakers to more than quadruple the current 31-cent-per-pack state cigarette tax and introduce taxes on other tobacco products.

A $1 increase in the cigarette tax and new taxes on other products, such as cigars and chewing tobacco, would erase a state revenue shortfall and help reduce smoking, particularly among minors, the Associated Press reported.

"Increasing the cigarette tax is good public health policy," said Kathy Fackler, chief executive of the American Lung Association of Pennsylvania.

For every 10 cents in taxes on cigarettes, adult smoking declines by 7 percent and teen smoking by 4 percent, Fackler said.

The proposed $1 boost to the per-pack cigarette tax would bring in more than $890 million in additional state revenue, Fackler said. The state has estimated a revenue shortfall of more than $770 million for the fiscal year ending June 30 because of the lagging economy.