Staunton City Council Votes to Raise Cigarette Tax - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Staunton City Council Votes to Raise Cigarette Tax

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Smokers will now pay more in Staunton for cigarettes. City councilors unanimously voted to raise taxes on cigarettes at their meeting Thursday.

For nine years, it has been 15 cents a pack. Now, during the next budget cycle it will be 30 cents per pack. The idea behind the proposal is to raise more money for schools and give teachers a pay raise.

"If somebody doesn't like this tax, but they don't have an alternative to finding the money to give our teachers raises, then what they're essentially saying is that cheap cigarettes are more important than paying our teachers what they're worth,” said Erik Curren, Staunton city councilor.

Aside from the increased revenue, Curren says he would like to see this deter smokers - and teens - from picking up the habit. He says it is also a public health concern.

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