One Week After The Cigarette Tax Hike

By: Gordon Boyd
By: Gordon Boyd

Knoxville (WVLT) -- What cost 20 cents two weeks ago will be at 62 cents from now on.

The question now, did raising the tax on a pack of cigarettes make smokers cough it up, or is it choking the businesses who depend on it?

Smokin Joe's cash registers haven't exactly been burning since the cigarette tax went up last Sunday.

"People are buying less right now," said Cody Hicks, who works at Smokin Joe's. "Some probably due to the cost and some probably because they bought so many before the tax went up."

Tennessee's tax is now the highest in the Southeast, more than double Kentucky's, but hardly the highest in the country.

Still, with a carton of Camels costing nearly $34, and Marlboro's not much less, smokers have a lot to think about.

"I've been slowing down, but it's on my mind to quit right now," said Rick Roper, a smoker.

"Nobody's going to really quit," Hicks said. "People will go to cheaper brands, but not everybody, some already have."

Hicks may stock more of those cheaper brands when he needs to re-order, but he hasn't had to stock since the tax went up.

Before that he had been restocking twice a week.

"We expect the beginning of next month, when everybody has kind of smoked through what they've bought, and going through the product, we expect sales to go back to what they were," Hicks said.

Tennessee is betting that more than tripling the tax won't quite double the take, but lawmakers still figuring it'll buy 95 million more a year for education and better trauma care.

The new tax hike spared cigars, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco.


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  • by vonda blackwell Location: newport,tenn on Jul 9, 2007 at 01:06 PM
    I hope to see some results at the schools with this tax. I have worked in the school system, my daughter is now working and the schools are terrible. One thing they need is qualified teachers. Of course "poor old Coucke County" is always left out. We live on drug money. Bredesen needs to do something about the drugs. Starting with the people who RUN this county. They surely live "high on the hog". We are not going to stop the beer and all the hard stuff are we? Ofcourse that again would hurt the governor's parties and the HIGH OFFICIALS. Right? Thanks for letting me say this. You probably can't do anything, but I got some of this low down political world off my chest. It is a bad world. Thanks Vonda
  • by john on Jul 9, 2007 at 10:45 AM
    i think that this is awful. Why couldn't they lower thier income a little or make aliens pay fines for being in our country. there was a better solution for this tax increase!!!!

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