Majority in New Mexico favor a higher cigarette tax..

January 24, 2009 - Three out of four New Mexicans favor a $1-a-pack increase in the state's cigarette tax to pay for anti-smoking programs and help eliminate a $450 million budget deficit, according to a poll released Thursday, 1/22/2009. The poll commissioned by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and the Washington, D.C.-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids) found strong majorities in favor of a $1-a-pack tax increase across all regions of New Mexico. That didn't change regardless of income, ethnicity, political party affiliation or political philosophy — conservatives, liberals and moderates.

About 76 percent of likely voters support an increase in the cigarette tax from its current level, 91 cents, to $1.91 a pack. Even among smokers who were surveyed, 57 percent supported the $1 tax increase.

In 2007 the legislature rejected a propsed 60-cents-a-pack increase in the cigarette tax when a tobacco company waged a telephone campaign against the measure.

If the tax went up by $1, New Mexico's tax rate would be similar to the $2-a-pack tax imposed in Arizona. Texas has a tax of $1.41. The tax is $1.03 in Oklahoma and 84 cents in Colorado.

Other New Mexico news brief(s): New Mexico appeals court revives smoking lawsuit..

Reference: Poll: Majority in NM favor higher cigarette tax by BARRY MASSEY, MSNBC - Associated Press, 1/24/2009.

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