by Bob Geary
North Carolina's cigarette tax: 35 cents a pack. The national average: $1.19. That's one reason for our failing grade from the American Lung Association, according to The News & Observer.
With the state facing a 2009-10 budget gap of some $3-4 billion, and newly installed Governor Bev Perdue an anti-smoking advocate, it's a good bet that tax will be increased in the upcoming legislative session.