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GRANT, Neb. -- A recent survey reveals that 73 percent of state voters are in favor of increasing the state’s cigarette tax, by $1.35 per pack, to help reduce the budget deficit and fund healthcare programs. The $1.35-per-pack increase is less than one proposed bill that may come before the state legislature this year. As NACS reported last week, Nebraska Sen. Mike Gloor’s is proposing increasing the cigarette tax to $1.99.
A proposed increase was supported by an overwhelming majority of voters regardless of party affiliation, with a thumbs up from 74 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of Independents, according to The Grant Tribune Sentinel. The poll was released by a coalition of health groups, including the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association in Nebraska and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
"Now is the time for legislators to listen to the 73 percent of Nebraska voters who want to raise the tobacco tax instead of cutting critical program," said David Holmquist, director of government relations for the American Cancer Society of Nebraska. "These results show that voters across Nebraska understand raising the tobacco tax is a smart way to protect healthcare funding and support programs that help smokers quit."
The poll also found that 75 percent of voters are concerned about tobacco use among young people in the state, 57 percent are more likely to support a candidate who favors the tobacco tax increase, and 82 percent support taxing all tobacco products at the same rate as cigarettes, the newspaper reported.