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Poll: Raise tobacco tax

By Dave Thompson

Bismarck, ND – A new poll commissioned by anti-smoking groups shows a two-thirds majority of North Dakotas favor higher cigarette taxes.

The poll was taken earlier this month. It also shows a strong majority would support spending money on tobacco cessation programs -- including a "quit line" to help smokers who want to quit.

Lawmakers have rejected Governor Hoeven's proposed tobacco tax increase. But they say it could come back later in the session.

"With this substantial public support, all of the health groups urge the Legislative Assembly to consider a significant tobacco tax increase after the crossover recess," said Bruce Levi of the North Dakota Medical Association. "We also urge our legislators to consider spending some of those dollars for improving and expanding the tools we have for helping smokers to quit and for preventing kids from starting to smoke."

Levi says anti-smoking groups have suggested raising the tax by one-dollar-a-pack.