Smoke Prices Rise

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 - 5:58pm

Smokers across the country expected a hard hit in the wallet today. The largest-ever federal cigarette tax finally went into effect. The government tax increased the price of cigarettes $.62 a pack, but many believed they would see costs soar higher than that. Our Emily Turner went to several vendors today to separate fact from fiction.

One vendor we spoke with said a lady bought 25 cartons of cigarettes, fearing that her smokes could rise as high as $8 per pack. We went to several other stores and found out that’s not the case. At Southdown’s Discount Liquor and Cigarettes, Owen Gouvier spent the entire morning modifying his inventory of tobacco products. “Every carton pack discount pack, it gets a price change.”

That’s because a new federal tax on tobacco product has upped the cost of a pack of cigarettes $.62, cigars $.40, and chewing tobacco $.30. This tax is tacked onto already inflated prices by manufacturers hoping to offset any possible drop in sales. “There was a big spike over the past couple of weeks just because people wanted to stock up.”

Gouvier says many of his customers panicked after they heard cigarettes were skyrocketing to nearly $8 a pack, but he assured them that the astronomical jump in price was nothing more than a gas station chain with a glitch in its system. “A lot of people would walk out of the store before anyone had a chance to explain to them it was a computer error.” With that in mind, Gouvier urges smokers to stay calm, “Yesterday a pack of Camels was $4.09, but today they ring up as $4.79.”

But this long time smoker wondered if the increase in price is worth it. “I’m still upset that it is still $5 for a pack of cigarettes.” Josh Barbier doesn’t intend to quit smoking all-together, he says he’s going to be a little more selfish when it comes to his smokes. “My friends bum from me and I’m probably not going to do that anymore.’

So, while cigarettes are more expensive than they were yesterday, Govier warns smokers not to believe everything that hear. While all tobacco products saw an increase in price because of all the tax, roll-your-own cigarettes went up the most with a 2000% price increase.