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(Neb)-Cigarette Tax Hike Get Committee Hearing

By: John Axtell Posted at: 03/18/2017 07:11 PM
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Supporters of a bill that would more than triple Nebraska's tax on cigarettes told the Legislature's Revenue Committee on Friday it would discourage teenagers from smoking.
     Nebraska's cigarette tax is currently among the 10 lowest in the country at 64-cents a pack while the bill would jump that to $2.14 a pack. Revenue from the additional $1.50 would be split between the state's general fund and funds used for behavioral health programs.

     Retailers testified that the increase would cause Nebraska smokers to buy cigarettes in other states, pointing to the increase in sales Nebraska stores along the Iowa border saw when Iowa raised its cigarette tax.

     Doctors and other medical professionals, though, testified that even if cigarette sales and the resulting tax revenue fell, the impact would still be positive because studies have shown that price is the top factor in teenage smoking.


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