Smokers Stocking Up To Beat Friday’s Cigarette Tax Increase
Friday April the first many smokers across the state will probably feel as if their local store clerk is playing a big of a prank on them. That's the day when the state's new higher tax on cigarettes goes into affect. As you might imagine that has prompted some smokers to buy in bulk ahead of the .22 cents per pack increase in price.
That tax increase passed by the recent special session of the legislature was deemed necessary to help the state close a huge shortfall in the budget. Many people, including Bill Bailey the owner of a store called Smoker's Paradise in the Pineville feel that too much of a tax burden is being placed smokers.
Then they think they’re going to basically eradicate tobacco or get people to quit smoking. My question is going to be what’s going to happen when the tobacco industry finally does collapse from all the taxes, then what are they going to do for money?
Bailey's comments reported by the Louisiana Radio Network seem to suggest that in his opinion the state is picking on a minority of citizens to shoulder the burden for the rest of the population. Last Summer the tax on a package cigarettes was increased by .50 cents. This makes the total tax burden on one pack of smokes $1.08.
So, have the higher taxes resulted in more people quitting? Bailey says he hasn't noticed a decrease in his business however he does see a bit of trend from cigarettes to small cigars.
Little cigars are taxed at a much lower rate and then the price starting out at $8 or $9 a carton versus $35 right now, the cheapest carton of cigarettes you can get on the shelf.
As you might imagine those that do smoke cigarettes have been making extra purchases ahead of the tax increase.
We’ve had quite a number of customers buy a pretty healthy amount of product.
State officials are speculating the Louisiana will see revenue generated from this increased cigarette tax to be about $11 million between the first of April and the beginning of the next fiscal year.