Though the federal tax hike regarding cigarettes and other tobacco products is coming into effect in the first day of April, thousands cigarette store owners have already felt the consequences of this increase since cigarette companies had raised up prices on their cigarettes in order to gain some extra revenue before the tax enters into force and sales will decrease significantly.
Beginning from April, the tax on every pack of cigarettes will go up from 39 cents to $1, which is more than 100 percent jump. For cartons, containing 10 packs, the tax will raise from $3.90 to $10. That makes a simply huge increase, isn’t it?
But that doesn’t mean customers would definitely stop buying cigarettes.
The Government hiked cigarette taxes stating that the revenue would go to health insurance for poor children. However, the vast majority of smokers are from a low to middle income social class; for many of them smoking is the only available pleasure. And with economy entering in recession, many of these simple workers have lost their jobs, and are trying to save themselves from stress and depression by lighting up a cigarette and relaxing. With the upcoming tax increase and subsequent price increase the government simply took the only pleasure of those people away. All we have to do is simply wondering where all the promises of our new Administration have gone?
The cigs shop in Hartland had to increase prices on cigarettes and tobacco containing products three times in the last two months. Its owner, Mitchell M. complained that during last three weeks, best-selling Marlboros have jumped from $3.54 to $4.20, excluding tax, discount 305 cigarettes, have risen from $2 to $2.25. Kathie S., the store manager said that the prices will double within next month.
Suleiman, mentioned that they were doing their best in order to raise prices gradually enough to shock their customers less, however their clients are anyway stunned and dumbfounded with the new price.
“How much?” 25-yearl-old Lindsey G. exclaimed, starting to tremble and shaking her head, trying to believe in what she had heard. She paid around $6 for a pack of her favorite Marlboro Lights, including taxes. Lindsey, resident of Hartland has been a regular customer of the cigs shop for more than 3 years, but said that the upcoming tax increase would make her give up, since she simply could not afford it anymore.
However, another customer, Marcia D., though was deeply shocked at the price hike, said she would not make her give up her pack-a-day habit. She said that she had been smoking for 30 years out of her 47 thus it was too late for her to quit. Marcia added that her husband has supported her habit being a chain-smoker himself, thus her only concern was find some extra money to pay for their Marlboros more.
While customers like Marcia consider remaining faithful to expensive brands like Marlboro, cheap cigs shop manager Kathie S. thinks that many people will start smoking cheaper brand, like 305s, the price for which will go up to s $3 beginning with April 1.
“The new tax is certainly going to affect the generic brands, too, but even with the increase, they’re still going to be the cheapest,” Ms. Marcia said.
In addition, there were many customers on Saturday, who appeared to be completely unaware of the tax’s origins. Thus, the cheap cigs shop owner, Owen R., explained to every now more than ever precious client that the revenue forms part of the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, signed on Feb. 4 by president Barack Obama. According to the Act all the revenue would go provide medical insurance for almost 4 million children.