DULUTH – Gov. Mark Dayton has proposed a 94-cent increase in the state's tax on a pack of cigarettes.
He says he's been reluctant to do this because it falls harder on people with low incomes.
Leaders at the American Lung Association couldn't be happier about the proposal.
"We know that increasing the price of tobacco will reduce youth from starting to smoke, encourage people who currently do smoke to quit, and it also saves all of us healthcare costs," said Jill Dobertein.
But opponents of the tax say they might as well make cigarettes illegal if the government wants to curb smoking habits.
"The government feels cigarettes are bad for you. There so bad for you that they want to make another dollar a pack off of cigarettes that's how bad they are," said Steve Belcher, owner of Butt's Smoke Shop in West Duluth.
The state's current cigarette tax rate is $1.58 a pack.
Dayton says his proposed increase would make Minnesota's per-pack tax equal to Wisconsin's.