In November, voters in North Dakota will determine whether taxes on tobacco will increase.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Al Jaeger announced that sponsors of a ballot measure that would increase the taxes on a pack of cigarettes by $1.76, as the necessary signatures to put the measure on the ballot for November 8. The tax hike would be the first put on tobacco products since 1993.

As reported in an article last month, over 22,000 signatures as an initiative to raise taxes on tobacco products was received by the Secretary of States office in North Dakota. 21,698 signatures were accepted to be qualified, as only 13,452 are required to be validated and approved as a General Election ballot.

The measure would also increase taxes on other tobacco products from 28 percent of the wholesale price to 56 percent, should the measure pass.

Several organizations are partnering the Raise it for Health North Dakota coalition in support of the measure. Such organizations include Tobacco Free North Dakota, the North Dakota Medical Association and the North Dakota Veterans Coordinating Council. Supporters of the measure say increasing the tax would reduce smoking rates and prevent young people from starting smoking.

Currently, North Dakota has the 47th lowest tax on tobacco of all 50 states at $0.44 per pack of cigarettes. North Dakota Retail Association President Mike Rud expects the measure to be opposed heavily, saying supporters aren't considering the impact on businesses and smokers.

Source: WDAY

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