Three states to vote on tobacco tax hikes

Nov. 1, 2004 at 2:11 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Voters in three states will cast ballots Tuesday on measures that, if all pass, would boost the U.S. average per pack cigarette tax to 84 cents.

In Colorado, voters are being ask to approve an amendment to the state constitution that would increase the cigarette tax from 64 cents to 84 cents and increase the tax on other tobacco products to 40 percent of the manufacturer's list price. Sixteen percent of the new revenue would be earmarked for state tobacco control and prevention programs.

Montana's Initiative 149 increases the state cigarette tax by $1 to $1.70 per pack and ups the tax on other tobacco products to 50 percent of the wholesale price. Supporters say the new revenues would be used to support the Montana general fund as well as new health-related programs and veterans' nursing homes.

An Oklahoma referendum increases the cigarette tax by 80 cents to $1.03 per pack and hikes the tax on other tobacco products as well. Revenues would, supporters say, provide money for state, county and local government as well as various health-related programs.

In addition, there are at least a half-dozen local ballot measures, including in Columbus and Toledo, Ohio, and Lincoln, Neb., that if passed would ban smoking in public places much like the so-called smokefree law in New York City.

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