Former Gov. Gregoire backing cigarette tax hike

SEATTLE (AP) -- Former Gov. Chris Gregoire is leading an initiative campaign that may ask Washington voters next fall to raise the cigarette tax by $1 a pack to fund cancer research and prevention.

A spokesman for Initiative 1356, Sandeep Kaushik, told The Seattle Times supporters would decide within a couple of weeks whether to push the measure this year.

To qualify for the November ballot they would have to submit more than 246,000 signatures by July 3.

Washington's current tax of $3.03 per pack is already one of the highest in the nation.