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North Carolina to raise cigarette tax

RALEIGH, N.C., Aug. 6 (UPI) -- North Carolina's tax on cigarettes will rise 5 cents a pack to 35 cents a pack by next July, under to an agreement reached by legislators.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., based in North Carolina, is not pleased with the tax hike.

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"We're very disappointed that the governor and the legislature have significantly increased the tax on middle- and lower-income North Carolinians who choose to smoke -- and who are already paying the state hundreds of millions of dollars in excise and sales taxes and settlement payments," Tommy Payne, a spokesman for Reynolds, told the Winston-Salem Journal.

Both states and the federal government charge a tax on cigarette sales.

"The cigarette tax increase will bring the total cigarette tax to only 35 cents per pack -- far below the national average of 90 cents per pack," said Matthew L. Myers, president, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in Washington. "North Carolina's cigarette tax brings to 41 the number of states, along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, which have increased their cigarette taxes since Jan. 1, 2002."

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