A House committee has approved a bill that would raise the cigarette tax by five-cents-per-cigarette and a dollar a pack. Republican Representative Gerald Gay of Casper is the main sponsor. He says money from the increase will help offset rising Medicaid costs.
“And tobacco is related to that because tobacco has such a profound impact on health care," Gay said. "So we figured out a way to sort of frontload health care costs against one of the biggest health care users that there is.”
Gay says that he believes that 60-percent of those on Medicaid are smokers. He estimates that the increase will raise 50 to 60-million dollars a year.