Kentucky Stores Brace for Tennessee Smokers

By: Jeff Allen, Bureau Chief
By: Jeff Allen, Bureau Chief

Middlesboro, KY (WVLT) - For those of you that smoke, you'll be able to save about 32 cents a pack on cigarettes, even after the cigarette tax goes into effect July 1st, all by just driving to Kentucky.

That may not be a good deal for some of you, but if you live in a border county it could be.

As Cumberland Valley Bureau Chief Jeff Allen reports, Kentucky stores are getting ready for some new business.

“I think it's too much, but I'll buy them anyway. I know I will,” Jean Kelley lives in Tazewell, but already drives about twenty minutes across the border to Middlesboro to Mike's Seven-Eleven to stock up.

“Even before the taxes, it's cheaper over here right now,” she says.

Middlesboro store owner Bill Wilcox says he doesn't see smokers traveling to Kentucky for just a pack or two, but he expects those stocking up on cartons, to cross the border after the tax goes into effect.

”Got as much business as i can handle. Afraid I’ll have to set up another register just to handle it,” Wilcox says.

But he worries what his gain could mean for others across the border. “I hate to see it for the merchants, I’m afraid it's gonna put some of them out of business.”

If you're planning to go, don't cross the border until Sunday.

Right now Kentucky’s cigarette tax is a dime more than Tennessee’s.

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