Possible S.C. Cigarette Tax Hike

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Possible S.C. Cigarette Tax Hike

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Dozens of South Carolina teenagers are calling on lawmakers to raise the state's lowest-in-the-nation cigarette tax, according to a report by the Charlotte Observer.

Members of a youth anti-tobacco group came to Columbia on national Kick Butts Day urging legislators to hike tobacco taxes and fund smoking prevention programs like theirs, the report stated. Approximately 6,700 teens statewide ages 13 to 17 participate in the smoking prevention program Rage Against the Haze.

House members are considering raising the tax to 57 cents per pack to help provide health insurance to low-paid workers. Nationwide, states' average cigarette tax is $1.21 per pack, according to the report.

Greenville High School junior student Graham Bichell said Wednesday higher taxes would prevent youth from starting the habit and save lives, noting the state hasn’t raised the tax for 32 years.