Cigarette Price Hike

Monday, March 2, 2009 - 7:26pm

Cigarette prices are expected to skyrocket once a new federal tax goes into place. As Emily Turner reports, some are looking at the positive side, saying it’s the newest incentive to kick their smoking habit.

Kevin Gerald has been an electrician for 20 years. He admits his job can get a little stressful at times and says he has fallen into a routine to help calm his nerves. “When we have to get material, we might have to smoke a cigarette or something.” Gerald says the most he’s ever been willing to pay for a pack is $4.50. “I won’t pay no more than that usually if it’s that much I’ll go to another store that’s cheaper.”

But with a new federal tax that will nearly triple the tax on his smokes, Gerald says he will have to break his habit before it breaks his bank account. “Won’t be able to afford it anymore, pay all the other bills with the way the economy is going.”

Beginning April 1, the tax on a pack of cigarettes will increase from $0.39 to $1.00. add in an anticipated hike from manufacturers and smokers throughout Louisiana could be forking out nearly $7.50 per pack.

Gerald admits giving it up will be tough. He’s smoked for over 30 years, but he’s ready to kick the butts for good. He already told his wife.

Money from the tax will go to fund the federally-run state children’s health insurance program, also known as S-CHIP.