Thursday morning, the Secretary of State's office received 22,000 signatures as an initiative to increase North Dakota's tobacco tax by 400 percent.

North Dakota has not seen an increase on tobacco tax since 1993. In fact, North Dakota has the 47th lowest tax on tobacco of all 50 states.

The Raise It For Health coalition is making the effort to raise the current tax from $0.44 per cigarette pack to $2.20 per pack. The tax of all tobacco products would go from 28 percent of the wholesale price to 56 percent, should the ballot pass.

According to state law, 13,452 signatures must be validated and approved to become a measure on the General Election ballot in November.

It is estimated that the increase would equate to $200 million just during the first 2 years, which would be allocated to fund health care services and programs for North Dakota veterans and those struggling with mental illness, addiction disorders, and chronic disease.

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