Barbour signs cigarette tax into law

Republican Gov. Haley Barbour, a former tobacco lobbyist long opposed to raising Mississippi’s cigarette tax, has relented in the face of slumping budget revenues and signed the state’s first increase in nearly a quarter century.

Mississippi’s 18-cents-a-pack excise tax hadn’t changed since 1985 before Wednesday’s bill signing. On Friday, it goes up to 68 cents a pack.

Barbour spokesman Dan Turner said the governor declined to comment on the legislation.