Lawmakers from both parties and representatives from the American Cancer Society are holding a press conference at the Statehouse today to call for an increase to the state's taxes on tobacco products. Their main argument seems to be that an increase in the price will encourage Mainers to give up the habit or to never start in the first place, leading to less pressure on the state's health care system. Left unsaid is the fact that revenue from such a tax could soften the deep cuts facing many state programs (full release after the jump).
The Portland Press Herald weighed in on such a tax this morning with an editorial that supported raising "the tax on tobacco products other than cigarettes to bring those items in line with cigarette taxes" but opposed an increased tax on cigarettes due to its likely disproportionate effect on "lower-income families." Read more »