A-A-R-P — the powerful lobbying group for the elderly — is pressing Iowa lawmakers to raise the cigarette tax by a dollar to finance health care programs. John McCalley is the A-A-R-P’s associate state director. The organization commissioned a poll of eligible voters — Iowans above the age of 18 — and found about 60 percent would support raising state taxes on cigarettes. He says it would do more than just generate revenue. McCalley says raising the cigarette tax has been shown to be the most effective way to keep young people from smoking. In addition, a one-dollar increase in the per pack charge on cigarettes would yield 180-million dollars next year — money the A-A-R-P would like to see used for health and long-term care programs. The Governor and legislative leaders from both parties have said there’s no chance the legislature will vote this year to raise the cigarette tax.
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