A coalition of groups rallying under the “Tobacco Free Iowa” banner are calling for a 50-cent-per-pack increase in the state cigarette tax. “Tobacco Free Iowa” president Dan Ramsey says it’ll raise 113-million dollars in new taxes for the state. Ramsey says raising the price of a pack of cigarettes will reduce smoking, too.Ramsey says over 100 different studies show raising tobacco taxes reduce smoking, especially among kids.A survey commissioned by “Tobacco Free Iowa” found 73 percent of Iowans favor raising the state’s tobacco tax, but House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says the tax would hit poor Iowans hardest. Rants says the group hasn’t figure out yet that low incomes Iowans pay the tax. He says they shouldn’t try to balance the books on low income Iowans. “Tobacco Free Iowa” contends the higher tax would force many poor Iowans to quit the smoking habit.
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