Big Cigarette Tax Hike?
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV 20 News.
Some state lawmakers and healthcare advocates have been trying to get the state's cigarette tax raised for the last two years. This year, with the current budget difficulties, they hope they have their best chance yet.
Florida's tax on cigarettes has been at $0.339 a pack since 1990. That's is the 46th lowest among the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Some lawmakers want to triple the tax, raising it by $1. They say that could bring in possibly as much as a billion dollars a year.
"We think it's an appropriate use fee for them to consider," says Florida American Cancer Society CEO Don Webster. "Because of the economy, we think it's time for this to happen."
Some smokers told WCJB that an extra dollar in taxes may help the curb their habit, but it might not cut it out completely.
The national average for a state tax on cigarettes is about a $1.30. Florida's tax currently brings in about $400 million a year, but Webster says the state pays out more than $1.6 billion dollars in Medicaid money to treat tobacco- related diseases.
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