Some cigarette prices would climb under House bill

Some cigarette prices would climb under House bill

Credit: AP

FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2009 file photo, Camel cigarettes, a Reynolds American brand, are shown in Philadelphia. Cigarette maker Reynolds American said Thursday, April 22, 2010, higher prices and productivity gains helped its first-quarter profit surge.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, file)

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Associated Press

Posted on May 7, 2013 at 12:10 PM

AUSTIN (AP) –– The Texas House has narrowly approved and sent to the Senate a bill cutting taxes on chewing tobacco by more than 30 percent but raising the price of some smaller brands of cigarettes.

Passed Tuesday 74-66, it mandates that cigarette brands not included in a 1998 settlement among big tobacco companies charge an extra 55 cent per pack, like major competitors. Taxes on chewing tobacco, meanwhile, would fall from $1.22 to 80 cents.

Republican Rep. John Otto said the bill is about fairness, and 48 states have adopted similar measures.

But the normally routine final approval instead sparked heavy debate from conservatives. They claim the state is taxing tobacco companies it never sued.

Currently, though, firms that weren't around for the settlement can charge less, and have increased market share.

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