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New Hanover Health Dept. looks to promote healthier lifestyles by raising taxes

READ MORE: New Hanover Health Dept. looks to promote healthier lifestyles by raising taxes

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- It's 2011 and like everyone else the New Hanover County Health Department is looking for healthier lifestyles. The department is asking county commissioners to support a tobacco tax that could once again raise the price of cigarettes.

Smoking is a habit many people admit is hard to kick. The New Hanover County Health Department is now looking to kick start a new you with a new tax on cigarettes.

"I think raising the price is definitely not going to get you to stop smoking," said Michael McLaurin, who does not smoke. "If anything, the more you try to get it away from a person I think the more they try to get to it."

In an attempt to close a growing budget shortfall some say a tax increase could help. Currently, North Carolina's current cigarette tax is .45 cents. If you increase the tax by one dollar per pack the estimated annual revenue is more than $300 million dollars, but some smokers say it's a bad idea.

"Is it the government's position to decide how we are to live our lives and what we put in our bodies?" asked Joy Ashley, who is a smoke. "Is that their position here in North Carolina?"

The health department's push is a part of a national campaign to fight unhealthy habits like smoking. However, it's up to those in Raleigh to fight for the cigarette tax increase in North Carolina and some are not on board with the idea.

"It's not government's job to micromanage us much less slap taxes on every single thing we do," said Thom Goolsby, who is the 9th District's Senate-Elect. "I'm sick of it. North Carolinians are sick of it. I don't support any of it."

Some think the increase is a win-win situation as the tax could make people stray away from buying the pricey tobacco product. Some non-smokers say the price of cigarettes is astronomical right now and another increase would be unbearable.

"How much is enough?" asked McLaurin. "Five dollars? Just think if you buy a carton that's a lot of money."

Nothing is set in stone in regards to the cigarette tax increase in North Carolina. The New Hanover County Health Department is simply asking for support from county commissioners.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.



GO AHEAD...its called the internet...someone in another state will start buying them at a low rate and selling them for LESS than NC sells them for...IDIOTS!


I have been smoking by choice for 57 years and I will continue. Being retired its hard enough making ends meet but I have few pleasures in my life. If the tax is increased and I cannot afford cigarettes AND groceries I suppose I can apply for food stamps and other amenities the state has to offer. Who wins?

Well Sadie

You are the perfect example of laziness and idiotic thinking. You'd rather mooch off others than quit a disgusting habit that is killing you!

To WilmingtonMAJ

I appreciate what you said and just to let you know I was trying to make a point using me as an example. Thats exactly how people will feel and the amenities are there so how can the state win? They will take in money from one source and pay out through another. I hope I don't have to ever use any of the resources the state has to offer but it is nice to know that they are there if the time ever comes.

"kick start a new you "

It seems that the Health Department doesn't have enough to do except propose that the County commissioners support a tobacco tax.
The tobacco tax was raised recently.

I propose that the Health Department be put on a skeleton crew, the head administrator fired, and reduce the overpaid employees wages.

"The health department's push is a part of a national campaign to fight unhealthy habits like smoking."
Well, there's a national campaign for belt tightening also. We need to release employees and commissioners that only advocate raising our taxes and show them the door.

I'm curious to see the belt tightening measures that the health department has put forth to relieve the budget woes.

We don't need the health department conducting political agendas, they need to stick to their duties, which do not include tax proposals and stunts.

If they can't stick to that, we need new leadership in the Health Department and Commission.

Why don't they start by

Why don't they start by raising taxes on alcohol, fast foods, and junk foods? Movie tickets and cable/satellite tv?

When did we collectively lose our minds?

At what point did nanny government become accepted and indeed, welcomed by some?

You know, I wouldn't mind the nanny governmnet so much if it wasn't totally incompetent, hypocritical nanny government. Because while the Health Department is beating the drum for higher taxes on cigarettes, they accept the daily grind of STDs and illegitimate births among their clientele as if it's just wonderful. It's no big deal if twenty year-old Peggy never came in for her depro shot and is now pregnant with her fourth illegitimate child, or if DeShawn infected five girls with the clap again, but for God's sake, don't let them smoke!!!

Where, oh where, did we ever get the idea that the government is somehow responsible for our own individual health choices? When we did that, we gave the bureaucratic tyrants carte blanche to come into our lives and tell us, "No trans fat." "No smoking." "Take those salt shakers off the table."

I don't smoke, so this will have limited effect on me. That doesn't decrease my outrage at government nosing in on every single aspect of our lives.

So go ahead and raise taxes. Make cigarettes really expensive. Pot is really expensive, and keeping it that way has really reduced its consumption, right? Nobody smokes pot, do they?

Yes, raise the taxes and make criminals out of even more people, because government tyrants are idiots if they don't connect the dots between increased cigarette taxes and increased cigaette smuggling/illegal sales. Straight arrow, "never broke a law in his life" Ward Cleaver types are buying cartons of cigarettes that are coming in from low-tax states or simply "fell off the truck" before tax stamps were applied. When cigarette taxes rise, organized crime gets that much stronger.

BTW, am I the only one who believes that with the impending collapse of Medicare and Social Security and the current state of pension/healthcare commitments to retirees across this nation, we should be ENCOURAGING people to smoke, and lowering the cost of cigarettes? It's Bizzarro World economics - "Gee, let's do everything we can to extend live into the nineties....let's aim for one-hundred years longevity....oh, but keep the retirement age at 62." We designed all these programs around actuarial tables that assumed a basic mortality rate of X, and now we're going broke because X is ten years later than it was when we crunched the numbers! Not enough people are dying fast enough!

Light 'em up, folks. PLEASE light 'em up. My Social Security may depend upon your smoking.

Anyone wanting more taxes is

Anyone wanting more taxes is an idiot. Picking on smokers is wrong. Suppose I want to impose a heavy tax on that nasty perfume you are wearing? How would you like that?

ive been in a state that

ive been in a state that raised the prices to over 7 a pack, the only thing it did was pi** smokers off. people didnt quit they got them elsewhere so if you want to lose all revenue from smokers sure push the tax. SC isnt too far away.

Yep, its called the black

Yep, its called the black market.. always tax free