Cigarette tax hikes have smokers fuming

By Doug Walker - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Frank Williams owns Smokey's Discount Tobacco Store in Gulfport.  Ever since the new tobacco taxes went into effect six months ago, his customers are letting him know how they feel.

"The customers aren't very happy about it, of course. That's money that can be better well spent in their own home," Williams said. "They have to support state budgets and federal budgets."

John Ruble smokes, but the high cost of lighting up is starting to impact his wallet.

"It makes me think when I light a cigarette how much I'm paying per cigarette," Ruble said. "It breaks it down by almost the cigarette itself."

With the additional state and federal taxes, an average carton of cigarettes is about $45, which means a single pack is about $4.50. So every time a smoker lights up a cigarette, it costs a quarter.

Williams said despite the impact on his business and the national recession, he's hopeful his store will stay in business over the long run.

"With the economy the way it is and the fact that we've suffered from the increases, we're still in business," Williams said.

He also wants to offer additional, different products for sale to grow his customer base.

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