2nd State Cigarette Tax Approved

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi lawmakers late Monday approved the state's second cigarette excise tax increase of the year, and Gov. Haley Barbour says he will sign it into law. The plan adds 25 cents a pack on cheaper cigarettes made by companies that did not participate in the state's 1997 settlement of a lawsuit against big tobacco firms. The tax is set to take effect Wednesday. The large companies have lobbied for the additional tax on their competitors, saying the makers of cheap cigarettes have a financial advantage by not paying millions of dollars a year for the lawsuit settlement. On May 15, Mississippi enacted its first cigarette excise tax increase since 1985, adding 50 cents a pack on all types of cigarettes. The rate went from 18 cents a pack to 68.