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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