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"This is simply a regressive tax and not a public health measure at all."
--A statement from the North Carolina Health Access Coalition in response to Gov. Mike Easley's budget proposal to increase the state's cigarette tax $.35, from $.05 to $.40 per pack. The group argues that an increase of at least $.70 per pack is the minimal amount required to discourage smoking, especially among teens, the only reason the group supports the tax increase.

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