"It's not the point of your choice to smoke or my choice to smoke, we're trying to save our jobs," Reynolds American worker Ruby King said.
She and other workers said they think increasing the state cigarette tax by a buck a pack will kill jobs and future dreams for people who depend on the golden leaf for a living.
"Tobacco's like the goose with the golden egg, (making possible) research, development, hospitals," King said. "This is not the time to tax it out, either."
"We do not support in any way a $1 increase on cigarette taxes in this state," one legislator announced to the crowd of workers Tuesday morning.
Governor Bev Perdue said she knows the $1 increase is "not going to fly in this session." But she said the state needs money and she's going to keep working with lawmakers to figure out how to raise it.