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The week that was

February 3, 2013
Minot Daily News

UP IN SMOKE Rep. Elliot Glassheim wants to help North Dakotans quit smoking. The Grand Forks Democrat thinks a good way to do that is to boost the state's cigarette tax from 44 cents a pack to $1. Anti-smoking groups think the bill doesn't go far enough, and would like the tax raised to $2 per pack. Others think Glassheim's bill, which would generate about $30 million in new taxes, is a misguided attempt to help smokers. If Glassheim's intent is to create a deterrent, raising the tax from 44 cents to $1 isn't good enough. North Dakota ranks 46th among states in cigarette taxes. New York charges the most state tax at $4.35 per pack. Maybe Glassheim, who said his bill isn't about raising money, should think about really jacking up the cigarette tax, even to New York levels. We're kidding, but we question whether making cigarettes too expensive for some residents is the best way to help them quit smoking. Is that the job of the Legislature? The state hasn't raised cigarette taxes since 1993, but raising them simply to force some people to quit because of financial reasons seems wrong.



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