Taxes more than double; cause Tobacco Run

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - At Tobacco Junction, people were making the most of the final pre-tobacco tax hours. Store owners said they can't keep the shelves stocked. What was the most popular item? Roll your own tobacco and it was almost completely out from people buying 10 to 15 pounds to stock up.

Emotions were mixed as to people's response to the tax, and people were just trying to find their own way to deal with the rising taxes.

As the clock ticked down, East Texans let purchases speak for their thoughts on the tax increase.

"I'm seeing it just flyin off the shelf, the roll your own we can't keep it stocked quick enough," Mary Donley, manager of Tobacco Junction in Tyler has seen a full store all day. "Somethings we are running out of."

They are stocking up and storing it that way they don't have the higher tax to pay. Snuff, cigarettes, and cigars will go up considerably with snuff facing an almost $.90 raise and cartons of cigarettes seeing $6 in additional taxes. Cigars will see the biggest increase with a nearly $48 in taxes.

"When I first started selling cigarettes they were $.99 a pack," said Pete Mandiola, owner of Tyler Tobacco. He said the tax will likely hurt some of his best customers. "This is gonna put a tremendous burden on my social security people, people on fixed incomes [and] people like that.

It is something some customers say could bring about a bring change.

"I decided that maybe I need to quit smoking," said Frank Leeson.

"I guess this is maybe my last carton...hopefully," said Shelley Dowden. "I don't know how I'm gonna do it but I'm gonna try and quit."

Store owners said they have seen price increases in the past and say it will only be a matter of time before the tobacco industry changes their marketing to fit the added cost.

Some people say that the tax increase may even change the way tobacco is bought and sold. More and more people are rolling their own cigarettes and suggesting even traveling to Indian reservations to purchase tobacco without the added tax.