Guam - vote this week on an increase in the tobacco tax..

January 21, 2010 - Guam, a territory of the United States, lawmakers are scheduled to vote this week on a bill (Bill 150) that could increase the price of cigarettes by $2 a pack.

Guam had the highest smoking rate per capita in the nation for the period from 1998 to 2007, according to a study published in March by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The vote will signify the end of a political fight that will separate those who care about our people and those who care only about the money to be made in the big business of tobacco.

Medical professionals are, recommending an increase in the cigarette tax to reduce smoking on Guam.

Senators decided to vote on Bill 150 last night after discussing the bill for several hours. Sen. Benjamin Cruz, an author of the bill, said it will be voted on by Friday. If Bill 150 becomes a law, new taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products will take effect 60 days later. The current $1 tax on cigarettes will climb to $3 and the current $3.50 tax on a pound of snuff will climb to $14.

Cruz said he hoped a higher price on cigarettes would persuade some smokers to quit and prevent children from starting.

Cruz initially proposed a larger increase to the taxes on other kinds of tobacco, including snuff, because he wanted it to be equal to the new tax on cigarettes. Cruz didn't want the new taxes to force smokers to switch to snuff, which "is even more disgusting." The current tax on snuff is $3.50 per pound, but senators have considered raising the price to as much as $21 per pound.

Reference: Tobacco tax hike up for vote by Brett Kelman, Pacific Daily News, 1/21/2010.

Guam related news briefs:
Guam - medical professionals send strong message about tobacco's ill efects..
Guam trying to increase the tax on tobacco to save lives..;
U.S. - smoking prevalence not falling fast enough...