Arkansas Doctor Proposes Raising Cigarette Tax by 50 Cents

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - An airing on a bill to raise cigarette taxes by 50 cents a pack is scheduled for today before the House Rules Committee.

Democratic Representative Gene Shelby of Hot Springs, who also is a doctor, says he is sponsoring the proposal on behalf of a group of nonprofit health organizations seeking additional revenue for clinics that serve low-income Arkansans. He also wants to reduce the number of smokers in the state.

Shelby said the health benefit of raising the cigarette tax could be considerable, adding that studies show that a ten percent increase in the price of cigarettes results in a four percent to seven percent reduction in smoking.

With passage of the measure, the tax on a pack of cigarettes would rise from 59 cents a pack to $1.09.

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