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August 15, 1986

Changing the Federal Cigarette Excise Tax

JAMA. 1986;256(7):862. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380070068010

To the Editor.—  I read with great interest the SPECIAL COMMUNICATION entitled "Smoking and Health Implications of a Change in the Federal Cigarette Excise Tax."1 The author and our colleagues throughout the country should know of an alternate plan for tobacco legislation that I have urged upon Senator Jesse Helms (R, NC), Senator John East (R, NC), North Carolina Governor Jim Martin, North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Jim Graham, and Congressmen Charles Rose (D, NC) and Bill Cobey (R, NC). The plan is to increase the excise tax to 32 cents a pack, which would raise sufficient revenue in two years to buy up the surplus tobacco and give it to the farmers in a Payment-In-Kind program and sufficient revenue to buy up the tobacco allotments. This would terminate the tobacco support program. These excise tax funds could then be earmarked for Medicare to pay for cigarette-related illnesses.This