Bill resetting minimum cigarette prices passes

Posted: Monday, April 19, 2010

JUNEAU - Cigarette prices in Alaska - particularly at large retailers and wholesale discounters - are likely to rise in a few months.

Barring a veto, a bill passed in the House on Friday is expected to correct a flaw in the state's existing minimum price law for cigarettes. That law calls for a minimum 4.5 percent wholesale markup and an additional 6 percent retail markup.

But Sen. Lesil McGuire says a flawed provision of the law lets resellers with the lowest costs sidestep the minimum markup rule and set the price floor for cigarettes statewide.

The Anchorage Republican's bill eliminates the that provision and resets the minimum wholesale and retail cigarette markups at 2 percent and 4 percent.

The bill already has passed the Senate.

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