Lawmakers and a coalition of groups seeking a boost in the state cigarette tax are making one last pitch, hoping the Legislature will vote to raise the tax as much as one-dollar-per-pack. Republican Representative Henry Rayhons of Garner has authored a bill that would do just that.Rayhons says research shows raising the tax a buck a pack would reduce underage smoking by as much as 21 percent. But most Republicans object to raising the cigarette tax. Representative Ro Foege, a democrat from Mt. Vernon, says Republicans may change their tune before the 2003 session’s over. Foege says there’s a “huge scramble” for extra dough, including a push to use cigarette taxes to finance a new state economic development fund. The state tax on cigarettes is currently 36 cents per pack. The national average is 67 cents per pack. Iowa Medical Society President Tom Evans, a doctor, says a cigarette tax increase is way overdue. Evans says smoking is not a healthy lifestyle choice, and the state needs to do more to discourage teens from taking up the habit, and raising the price of cigarettes is one way to do that.
You are here: / / Effort continues to raise cigarette tax