Supporters renew push to increase Louisiana cigarette tax

Supporters renew push to increase Louisiana cigarette tax

BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - Members of an advocacy group called "Invest in a Healthy Louisiana" traveled to the steps of the Capitol on Monday to urge state lawmakers to increase the state's 36-cent cigarette tax.

Members of the group say a higher tax would drastically reduce the number of smokers in the state. They say Louisiana currently has the third-lowest cigarette tax in the nation.

Supporters of the proposal want to see the current tax raised to the national average of $1.54, saying it will prevent 36,700 children from becoming smokers.

Critics, however, believe an increase to $1.54 is unrealistic, and late last month, a House committee agreed to an increase from 36 cents a pack, to 68 cents a pack.

State representative Harold Ritchie authored the bill. He's a Democrat from Bogalusa who says he has smoked cigarettes for 50 years.

Copyright 2015 WVUE. All rights reserved.