(02/12/2011)
A bill is pending in the West Virginia Legislature to increase the state tobacco tax.

Legislators say the tax could generate $130 million for the state.

West Virginia is tied for the highest adult smoking rate in the USA.

While some legislators claim the tax would reduce the number of cigarette smokers and improve public health, addiction professionals say that as long as smokers are addicted to nicotine, they'll pay the price.

The American Lung Association says West Virginia failed in all tobacco-related categories including prevention, cessation and taxes, including spending a minimal amount of the tobacco settlement money to help people get off nicotine.

The money has mostly been used to fill holes in the state budget.

In West Virginia, the tax per pack of smokes is $.55, which is well below the national average of $1.45.


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