Smoking addicts everywhere are noticing their pocketbooks weighing significantly less due to the new tax increase on cigarettes that went into effect April 1.
Ironically, their money is going up in smoke, because more and more people are smoking as a reaction to the economy.
In the state of Texas, tax on a pack of cigarettes has risen from 39 cents to $1.01.
The tax increase will impact the average pack-a-day smoker by costing approximately $368.65 more a year on cigarettes.
The 61- to 66-cent cigarette tax increase will help fund the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, according to Kristine Weaver, government relations director for Smoke Free Texas.
According to the Texas Cancer Facts and Figures, an estimated 3.3 million Texans over 18 years of age, or 19.3 percent of the adult population were current smokers in 2007.
People would assume that the tax increase would decrease the amount of people smoking cigarettes; however, this is proven to be wrong.
“Cigarette sales have increased actually,” Ana Sadler, employee at Valero on the corner of Broadway and Amherst, said. “More people are just buying cigarettes by the carton, instead of by the pack.”
As with any tax increase, there will be people who favor the increase and there will be people who will oppose it.
“As a non-smoker, I’m actually really happy the price of cigarettes went up because hopefully it will deter people from buying them now. There is nothing worse than being stuck in a situation where you’re in a public place and you can’t avoid being around somebody else’s secondhand smoke,” Jen Dais, University of Arizona College of Medicine student, said. “If raising the cost of cigarettes has a positive effect on smoking secession then I am all for it. The money the smokers would save if they quit won’t even come close to the costs of medical care if they were to develop a chronic health problem such as emphysema or lung cancer as a result of their smoking.”
Smokers may not agree with the tax increase and may feel that their tax money should not go to the government.
“I think that if the tax money was going to help diseases and health problems that are caused by smoking, then I would be all for it,” Jake Harris, Tyler resident, said. “I think it is actually bringing the economy down, because an addiction is an addiction, and smokers are going to smoke regardless. So in the end, smokers are just losing more money.”