Smokers stocking up on cigarettes

By Dick Berry - email

Posted by Nick Dutton - email

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Smokers are stocking up on cigarettes. They're about to get socked with a price increase that has many stunned.

When you come to a place like the Smoke Shack on April first, you're going to be in for a real surprise.The average price for a pack of cigarettes is going up 74 cents.

The price hike by the manufactures is no surprise. Congress passed the increase in the federal excise tax on cigarettes to pay for expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

"I don't think it's right because it's paying for health care for children. What about the people who don't have children. Why should they pay for it?" says Doug Kanag, owner of the Smoke Shack.

He plans to pass the price increase along to his customers. "We have no choice. It's a tax. We don't have any choice. We're not making any money on it," says Kanag.

Smokers we talked to want government to butt out of their business.

"I think it sucks...We pay too much now," says smoker Bob Gleason.

But will the increase force smokers to quit cold turkey?

"I don't know. Hard to say. Been smoking for a ling time. Ain't caused any health program yet," says Bob McGee. 

"I'm gonna quite because I'm not going to pay $5-6. That's outrageous," says smoker Don Langford. 

The Smoke Shack expects to see a growing trend increase that began years ago when the price of cigarettes exploded. They say it's cheaper to buy a bag of tobacco and roll your own.

"Well, I'm probably saving $34-$40 a carton," says Jim VanTuinen. He rolls his own cigarettes.

Anti-smoking groups say they expect cigarette sales to decline by as much as eight percent as a result of the tax increase.


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