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TOPEKA, Kan. -- Buying cigarettes in Kansas could become more expensive if a measure to triple the state excise tax takes hold.
State Rep. Don Hill (R-Emporia) introduced House Bill 2672 that would increase the cigarette levy from 79 cents to $2.29 per pack. It would also increase the tax on other tobacco products from 10 percent to 78 percent. The bill is now with the House Health and Human Services Committee, according to the KHI News Service.
"Increasing the cost of a commodity logically leads to reduced use and the consequent health benefits," Hill said. "There's also the reality that Kansas is well below the national average in terms of our tax rate on tobacco products. And then couple that with the fact that we're broke."
According to the news service, raising the cigarette tax by $1.50 would add more than $100 million to the annual state revenue. Kansas has not raised its cigarette tax since 2002, and has not raised the tax on other tobacco products since the 1970s.
A measure to increase the cigarette tax by 55 cents to $1.34 per pack failed in 2010. At the time, legislature left the proposal alone but raised the general sales tax. And last year, a state Senate committee held a hearing on a different tobacco tax increase proposal but did not vote on the bill, the news service reported.