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Maine slips from a ‘B’ to a ‘D’ in the tobacco-use report card. More and more services are being cut and people are having to use their own resources to quit smoking. Plus, there is now a lower tax than many other states. Those are the primary reasons for the slide. Maine however still does score an 'A' for eliminating areas for smokers and advocating for clean air.

The last cigarette tax hike I recall was during the Baldacci administration back in his first term as Governor. I know it’s still a legal product, that I still after not smoking for over three months, get urges for daily. I think it may just be time to hike the tobacco tax to pay for the budget deficit. I was against a tobacco tax for the longest time because I felt that a tax would hit the people least able to afford it. It could possibly take food out of the mouths of smokers’ children. People will buy cigarettes before food in many cases.

Maine has issues with creating revenue and an easy way is with a higher tax on tobacco. An added cigarette tax would help the state to pay the hospital bills. Statistically smokers would need more health services, so I think they should use tobacco tax to pay for Maine Care.  The financially challenged smokers would in a way pay the tax for their Maine Care. In essence, the tax would be their insurance. I know not all smokers are on Maine Care but I bet most people rich or poor would quit if encouraged.

So today, I’m okay with cigarettes costing $10 pack if that is what it would take. You don’t have to smoke. It’s a choice.