Would increased cigarette tax help Vt. smokers quit? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Would increased cigarette tax help Vt. smokers quit?

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

Health advocates say a large cigarette tax hike could fatten smokers' wallets. That's because they say a tax increase of more than 10 percent leads people to quit.

About 20 percent of Vermonters use cigarettes or other tobacco products. Polling paid for by anti-tobacco groups found that three-quarters of Vermonters support a $1.25 per pack increase.

"Significant cigarette tax increases are the single most effective way to reduce smoking across the entire population but especially among youth," said Kevin O'Flaherty of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Advocates say they expect a $1.25 increase would cause more than 3,000 people to kick the habit, and say the measure is not regressive if new revenues are dedicated to health costs.

Earlier this year, the House passed a 50-cent tax hike, the Senate Finance Committee is considering potentially tripling that figure.

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