Time Running Out For Smokers, Tax Increase Takes Effect July 1

By: Stacy McCloud
By: Stacy McCloud

Knoxville (WVLT) - If you smoke, you have until Sunday, then Tennessee more than triples its tax on cigarettes.

A few cents that will really add up over time.

So, as Volunteer TV’s Stacy McCloud shows us, many are stocking up now, to try to save for as long as they possibly can.

"We’ve had customers buying 6, 8, 12 cartons at a time,” says Adam Moody at Smokin’ Joe’s.

Business has been a bit different at Smokin’ Joe’s this week. "We've had people call and make special requests that we order extra cartons."

Instead of buying just one pack, most customers are buying in bulk.

Jennifer King says she's getting a carton today, but on her next stop, she may buy a case to get the most out of that pre-tax increase price. "I’m going to try to stretch it a little if I can.”

King and many others are paying more now to stock up, so they'll save the almost half-dollar extra they'll permanently pay come Sunday.

"After a while it does add up,” says smoker Robby Sherman.

Now I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you're actually going to be paying more than 42 cents extra a pack. That is just the cigarette tax, keep in mind you have to add on sales tax.

To break it down, sales tax is 9.25%, so now, tax will be four cents to the pack. You're grand total is 46 cents extra.

But is that enough to make smokers quit?

"You can always jack up the price, but if they have an addiction they are going to smoke,” says Sherman.

"They are still gonna buy it, gas prices went up, they still buy gas,” King says.

Good thing shelves are still well stocked, cause it looks like they're just gonna make the cut someplace else.

"That's 50 cents, I just wont have a Diet Coke,” Sherman says.

The increase isn't for all tobacco. The tax on items like cigars and chewing tobacco did not increase.

Those that are affected will have their new price starting this Sunday, July 1st.

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  • by Michael Location: Knoxville on Jun 30, 2007 at 06:17 PM
    I don't smoke and I don't drink. So why do they always tax the smokers. How about taxing the booze for once, by the drink and by the bottle/can. Add a bottle/can tax on beer and help clean up Tennessee. When was the last time you heard someone was killed because they were smoking? I thought the lottery was to help the schools. Where is all the money going from that? I read you can only bring a couple of cartons in from out of state. What's the highway patrol going to do, stop and check every car coming into state? If I lived closer to another state that sold for less then Tennessee, I would buy there.
  • by JOHN Location: COSBY TN on Jun 30, 2007 at 08:56 AM
  • by Georgia Location: Knoxville on Jun 28, 2007 at 04:39 PM
    OK, the supposed reason for this tax is to give more money to the schools, correct? Well now, why are quite a few agencies offering "quit smoking" assistance? Do they not realize this will "hurt" the schools. Why have all the restaurants gone to "no smoking"? I understand non-smokers enjoy the fresh clean (as odd as that can be) air, however, smokers have the same rights. What I am saying, the excuse that was given, to aid the schools, is hogwash! If this were the true reason, why wasn't ALL tobacco products included with this tax? And, if this additional cost creates a numerous amount of individuals to quit, how exactly are the schools going to be assisted with additional money? Also, is the Lottery not supposed to give this additional money to the schools? Looks to me like this is totally one-sided. Why not apply additional tax to fast food also, we are continually told how our children and adults are severely obese, fast food is the culpret. So, why not look there this way not just ONE group of individuals are singled out to pay for everyone - makes $ sense to me.
  • by Brian D Location: Maryville Tn. on Jun 28, 2007 at 12:22 PM
    I wonder why they won't even split the cig tax.like put 1/2 of the taxs on booze or even all on it and leave the cig's alone for a while but i have been told that most of the gov.are big ole drunks and they are not going to tax what hurts them! will see if that ever changes.L.M.A.O.
  • by Sherrie Location: Campbell, TN on Jun 28, 2007 at 10:13 AM
    I have to agree with Susan's comment. I am so sick and tried of all the taxes on smokes. This hurts the tobacco farmers. Has anyone thought of ther future. They have taken everything away from smokers already just leaves us smokers alone and it is our choice to smoke not yours.
  • by Jerry Location: Dandridge, TN on Jun 27, 2007 at 05:42 PM
    I imagine those non smokers whom drink that are sponsoring this tax would never abstain to a tax vote on Alchahol. So the drunks in our nations capitols that don't smoke have sit back for years punishing everyone else. I don't drink but I do smoke. I would love to see a .50 cent hike in alchahol sales that would benefit the homeless and help uninsured people in Tennessee get an opportunity to see a dentist or doctor when they are in need.
  • by Susan Location: Sevierville, Tn on Jun 27, 2007 at 04:47 PM
    I'm really getting sick of all these tax laws. More taxes everytime you turn around. It's seems to me that we're only making about 70% of every dollar we earn as it is. I find this whole extra smoking tax crazy! Enough already! Is it still legal to breathe for free?


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