- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 29, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger has approved for circulation a petition to put on the ballot a measure that seeks to increase the state’s tobacco tax.

Jaeger on Tuesday said the measure’s backers must gather about 13,500 qualified signatures by July 11 to put it to a statewide vote in the November general election.

The Raise It For Health North Dakota coalition wants to raise the state’s 44-cent cigarette tax to $1.76 per pack.

Tax on other tobacco products would increase up to 58 percent.

North Dakota ranks 47th among states in the amount of tax paid by smokers. Retailers have successfully fought off several attempts to raise the state’s tobacco tax in the past two decades. The last increase was imposed in 1993.

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