Smokers Buying Before Cigarette Tax - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Smokers Buying Before Cigarette Tax

       East Texas smokers are starting 2007 with a decision to make: pay more for cigarettes, get them elsewhere or perhaps finally quit altogether. Starting tomorrow, a pack of smokes will cost a dollar more as the state rolls out its new cigarette tax increase, signed into law in May to help offset cuts in local school property taxes. Many smokers have been flooding stores and supermarkets to stock up before the price hike.   

     With 2006 almost gone, smokers have been out in force over the last two days buying up packs and cartons before the new tax hike goes into effect.

    "Some people buying 8 to 10 cartoons before it goes up," says Longview convenience store clerk, Michael Jones.

     Many are angry that they even have to rush, saying the state should get it's tax money somewhere else.

      "I think it's too much I a lot of place's are going to lose a lot of business," said Longview smoker, Sherrie McCrary.

      That could be true, with Louisiana having a lower cigarette tax, East Texas may go that way. The rush to buy them at the last minute will save them some money but eventually, they'll have to pay full price.  For many, that's a problem with their budget.

    "It's going to effect our budget that it is, that's a dollar more a pack and dollar more you've got to come up with," said Lois Cooper , buying cigarettes for her husband.

   Some might take the price hike as a way to quit, but few look at it that way.

    "I think they're trying to stop us from smoking but it's not going to stop me," Mccrary says.

    The price hike means the average pack of cigarettes will be around 4 to 5 dollars. Premium brands will be almost 6 dollars a pack.

  Bob Hallmark, reporting.


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