Ky Smokers Facing Second Tax Hike In Weeks

EDMONTON, Ky. -- Most major cigarette makers in the United States already have raised prices, weeks before a higher federal excise tax takes effect, and smokers in Kentucky can expect another price hike April 1, when the state cigarette tax doubles to 60 cents a pack.

Kentucky cigarettes will still be taxed less than much of the nation. According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the new state tax rate will be half the national average of $1.21, and still below Indiana's rate of 99.5 cents.

But health officials and groups such as the American Cancer Society expect the higher prices will lower Kentucky's adult smoking rate -- the nation's highest at 28.3 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Any tax increase is a benefit, health wise," said James Sharp, the society's director of government relations in Kentucky.

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