Health Groups Advocate $1 Higher Ala. Cigarette Tax

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Many of the state's leading health care organizations are encouraging the Alabama Legislature to raise the state's cigarette tax by $1 a pack to prevent cutbacks in health care for the state's poor and elderly served by the state Medicaid Agency.
Eighteen organizations announced their support Friday, including the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, the Alabama Dental Association, the Alabama Hospital Association, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.
Health officials said adding $1 to the state's tax of 42.5 cents per pack would generate $212 million annually and would encourage some people to quit smoking.
Medical Association President Jeff Terry said Alabama has one of the lowest tax rates in the country on cigarettes, and "it's time for tobacco to pay its fair share."

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