Virginia Lawmakers Pass Tobacco Tax Increase

The Virginia Senate and House of Delegates have approved a $1.3 billion tax package that includes an increase in the state’s cigarette tax, the Associated Press reported April 28.

Virginia’s tax on cigarettes will increase from 2.5 cents a pack to 20 cents this year and 30 cents in 2005.

Prior to the bill’s passage, Virginia, the first state where colonists grew tobacco in the early 1600s, and home to tobacco giant Philip Morris, had the lowest cigarette tax in the nation.

“This is a historic first step,” said Donna Reynolds, spokeswoman for the American Lung Association of Virginia. “Our goal was 75 cents, which would make Virginia about average, but we’re very happy.”