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Originally published April 30, 2010 at 6:12 AM | Page modified April 30, 2010 at 11:41 PM

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New $1 cigarette tax starts Saturday in Washington

Smokers who reach for a pack may get sticker shock Saturday, when the new $1 tax passed by state lawmakers takes effect. State taxes now total more than $3 per pack.

OLYMPIA, Wash. —

Smokers who reach for a pack may get sticker shock Saturday, when the new $1 tax passed by state lawmakers takes effect. State taxes now total more than $3 per pack.

Washington now has the second-highest state tax load on cigarettes, behind Rhode Island, though some other jurisdictions also impose local taxes.

The state's Department of Health says experts estimate the tax increase will prompt about 19,000 adults to stop smoking, and prevent twice that many kids from starting.

The department offers a free Tobacco Quit Line at 800-QUIT-NOW, and in Spanish 877-2NO-FUME, where callers can talk to "quit coaches" who will work with them to develop a stop-smoking plan.

Department of Health Mary Selecky notes that a pack-a-day smoker who quits will save nearly $2,500 a year. "Quitting smoking improves a person's health within hours, and saves money, too."

Seattle Times staff

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