Mississippi will have a 50-cent increase in tax on cigarettes..

May 8, 2009 - Mississippi's Legislature has approved the first cigarette tax hike in two decades, voting to raise the tax by 50 cents a pack in a bid to reap millions of dollars in new budget revenues amid the nation's economic slump. Gov. Haley Barbour, a former tobacco lobbyist who has had a change of heart, said Wednesday, May 6th he would sign the tax increase into law. (The tax will be raised from 18-cents, the third lowest in the nation (has been in place since 1985) will be raised to 68-cents. Even at 68-cents, the tax is about half the national average of $1.23 per pack.)

In 2008 the Mississippi state health ranking was 49th; it was 50th in 2007.

Reference: Barbour to Sign Cigarette Tax Increase, Jackson FRee Press, 5/7/2009; Mississippi lawmakers approve cigarette tax hike by SHELIA BYRD, Associated Press, 5/7/2009.

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