NC Cigarette Tax Brings Drom In Sales, Rise In Revenue

North Carolina's 25 cent hike on a pack of cigarettes last year helped cut sales by 18 percent and still increase tax revenue by more than 110 million dollars. That's the word today from state officials.

State health director Doctor Leah Devlin says the figures mean "fewer North Carolinians and their families will face a lifetime of disability and tortuous early death."

The data covers the first 10 months after the cigarette tax was increased to 30 cents a pack in September 2005. The tax rose to 35 cents in July.

Health advocates point to research that shows a 10 percent hike in the price of a pack of cigarettes results in an initial 4-to-7 percent drop in smoking rates. The rate, they say, then levels out.

While data released today doesn't measure smoking trends, health advocates say it's evidence that a higher cigarette tax is achieving its goals.